12 Things That Keep This Runner Happy and Sane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Week 42 of Ironman Training: #533 is Savoring the Last 23 Days Until IMAZ

There are only 23 days to go until I’m standing in my wetsuit at the start of Ironman Arizona!! I have goosebumps just thinking about it. You might also hear a symphony of butterflies flitting around in my stomach as you read this — all good stuff, and part of the process as I revel in joy and excitement of the challenge ahead.

What made it feel “extra real” was receiving my official race bib number last week: #533. It’s my lucky number too, harkening back to my early basketball days when I sported #33 on the court, just like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who I idolized. Ha ha. Nerd Girl. It’s the little things people!!

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I can’t think about the race too much though, because there’s still work to be done in the next 23 days. Right now I’m at the pinnacle of my training before I start tapering. For the last six days I’ve been hitting it hard, and now I have a day of rest before I start ramping it up again for this weekend’s 9-hour swim-bike-run metric Ironman training day (1.5 mile swim, 70 mile bike, 16 mile run). Today’s rest day is the reason I’m finally able to carve out a little time to catch up on my blog.

One thing I wanted to share was this sweet little nugget. I was honored to be featured by Smile Train in their Ironman MilesforSmiles campaign recently. It tickled me because I love what they do. My quote is a little hard to read on the photograph, but this is what it says:

“I choose to race with Team Empower for my first Ironman because it combines my two favorite things: my love of triathlon and my love of helping others. It’s pure joy being part of a team that’s working hard to improve the lives of others, knowing our efforts will make a tangible difference, providing new smiles and much brighter futures for children all around the world.”

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I know you may be sick of hearing about my Smile Train fundraising (hopefully not), but if you’d like to support my efforts for this fantastic organization, you can click HERE and make a tax-free donation. Only a few more smiles to go until I reach my new fundraising goal of $7,030! And only 2 spots left in the drawing for a $100 gift card (for a donation of $250 or more) and 3 spots left for the $25 gift card (for a contribution of $100-$249).

Here’s a quick glimpse of last week, which was both tough and fun–the perfect combination. It included participating in the Santa Barbara 100 bike event on Saturday.

Monday:  Swim 3600y (2 miles), core, massage (aaahh)
Tuesday: Run 30 minutes, Swim 1000y, core
Wednesday: Bike 2 hours, run with my kids at running club, core
Thursday: Swim 4500y (2.5 miles), core
Friday: Rest, core
Saturday: Santa Barbara 100K, followed by a 10-mile run, core
Sunday: Bike 2 hours on a hilly course, core

I just have to take a minute and give another HUGE shout out to this awesome person, my massage therapist, Stephanie Trager. She has been an integral part of keeping me healthy and injury-free this year. It’s a delicate dance of pushing hard to get stronger and fitter, often ignoring all the aches that come with the territory, while also making sure you take care of your muscles and joints when they let you know you’ve tango’ed a little too much. Stephanie always gets me back up and running so I can keep moving forward. I’m so lucky to have her in my corner. Thank you Stephanie! Not to mention, I get lots of love from Murphy when I visit too.

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Stephanie and Murphy

Even when my body is a little cranky, I still try to find joy in each of my workouts. Tuesday I did a quick 30 minute run before my swim, and cruised along one of my favorite locations, the bike path along Butterfly Beach in Montecito.
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I haven’t been able to make it to Killer Kate’s strength classes very often anymore due to scheduling issues and recovery days so I’m trying to be diligent with core strengthening at home. I do a daily “short and sweet” routine which includes push-ups, planks, side planks, donkey kicks, bridges, clam shells, 100s and squats, and hope this truncated effort will still carry me through.

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It’s hard not to laugh when your big brown dog is in your face while you’re trying to do push-ups.
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Much of the week I neglected to take pictures, which is unusual for me, but I did snap many on Saturday during the SB100 bike event.
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This was a fantastic event with several options in terms of distance and climbing. Many of my hardcore friends did the full 100 miles with 9,000 ft of climbing. I opted for the more sane choice (100K with 4,000 ft.) and followed it up with a 10-mile brick run.

It was a gorgeous morning, and fun to see so many friends out there participating.
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The event started and finished at Leadbetter Beach, with over 1,000 riders taking part.
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Once again, this was a chance for me to practice my race day nutrition, clothing, pacing, etc.
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While a century ride isn’t typically a “race” per se, this event had an element of competition, especially for the full century distance, where riders raced to the top of Gibraltar. OMG. Brutal. Bravo to those studs who took it on.

I pushed my pace throughout the 100k ride, but also stopped at two of the four aid stations to refuel. By the end of 64 miles, my legs were definitely feeling it.

My brick run afterward was a toughie, but I got through it, reminding myself that it was bringing me one step closer to IMAZ. I chuckled when a couple cyclists pedalled past me while I was running and said, “Wait, didn’t you just do the 100? You are crazy, girl.” Yep, we’re all crazy in our own way.

I was happy to have this one in the books…whooped but stronger for having knocked it out.
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And my legs were happy to have an ice bath in the ocean afterward.
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The topper to the week was getting on my bike again the next day for a two hour hill ride. Matt had a special name for this workout, which I probably shouldn’t repeat here–ha ha, but it was essentially meant to continue toughening me up both physically and mentally.

As I was trying to rally up some motivation in the morning, I had to tell myself, “Don’t think, just go. Turn your brain off and just get it done.” It was a really good day to practice all my race day mantras and visualization strategies too, as I huffed up each hill. My mental bag of tricks is getting larger by the day, and I’m sure I’ll be relying on all of them on race day.
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Surprisingly, two hours went by relatively fast, and I ended up enjoying much of this ride. Here’s a view of one of the more mellow roads I cruised on–East Mountain Drive–so sleepy on a Sunday afternoon. Thanks Matt for making me get my butt out there again when I wouldn’t have otherwise.
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As I count down these last 23 days, I’m trying to savor each workout, each challenge and each moment that brings me closer to crossing the finish line in Tempe. I’m breathing in courage and exhaling fear. I’m fueling my mind with positive imagery, picturing myself loving every minute of the race, while preparing myself for the reality of the most grueling athletic event of my life. I’m continually reminding myself that I’ve put in the work, so no matter what happens on race day, I’ve done my best, and my best is good enough.

When I started officially training back in January, I had no idea just how much I would love this journey. Sure some days have been more challenging than others, and muscles have complained here and there, but I have never felt more grateful for my health and fitness and for all the people in my life who have made this epic adventure so special.

I’m one lucky chica, and I don’t forget it for a minute.

Until next time…happy weekend to you all!
xo B

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

Kicking off My Journey to Ironman Arizona
Week One of Ironman Training: Believe
Week Two of Ironman Training: The Power of Friends
Week Three of Ironman Training: I Think I Can
Week Four of Ironman Training: Progress
Week Five of Ironman Training: Wind at my Back (and Front) and Peeps by My Side
Week Six of Ironman Training: Baking a Cake
Week Seven of Ironman Training: Courage
Week Eight of Ironman Training: It’s All About the Base
OMG, You did WHAT?! (AKA Sleep Deprivation + Training = Embarrassing Moments)
Week Nine of Ironman Training: Growing Pains
Week Ten of Ironman Training: Trust
Week 11 of Ironman Training: Speedbumps and Breakthroughs
Week 12 of Ironman Training: A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken
Week 13 of Ironman Training: Spring!

Week 14 of Ironman Training: Rollercoaster
Week 15 and 16 of Ironman Training: Staying Happy and Healthy

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

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss
Week 24 of Ironman Training: Consistency is the Key
Week 25 of Ironman Training: Embracing New Challenges
Week 26 of Ironman Training: Hills, They’re What’s for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Week 27 of Ironman Training: Taking This Show on the Road (Tri-cation!)
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Tri-cation
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Fun Continues
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Rocky Mountain High
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Finishing Aspen Strong
Week 29 and 30 of Ironman Training: Rollercoasters, Crazies, and Comebacks
Week 31 of Ironman Training: New Heights
Week 32 of Ironman Training: 100 Days to Go
Week 33 of Ironman Training: The Art of Recovery and Balance
Week 34 of Ironman Training: The Magic of Firsts
Week 35 of Ironman Training:Chasing the M-Dot with Toughness Training
Week 36 of Ironman Training: Miles of Opportunities
Week 37 of Ironman Training: IMAZ Training Camp and Tempe Tri Race Report
Week 38 of Ironman Training: Much to Celebrate and Carpinteria Race Report
Week 39 of Ironman Training: Why I Tri and Try
Week 40 and 41 of Ironman Training: Think Like a Dog and Train Like a Mouse
Week 41 of Ironman Training: Mind over Muscle

Week 40 and 41 of Ironman Training: Think Like a Dog and Train Like a Mouse

Have you ever noticed how smart dogs are? After running and playing hard, they know exactly what to do: chill. There’s no overthinking it. There’s no multi-tasking or contemplating their never-ending To Do Lists. There’s no, “I should be doing this” or “I should be doing that.” They simply drink a little water then plop down and snooze…usually for a very long time. And then they repeat it, usually after convincing their humans to feed them and give them a little massage.

I’ve decided I need to start thinking more like a dog as we head in to the last 37 days (!!) leading up to Ironman Arizona.

Train hard, turn my brain off (and the news), rest, recover and repeat.

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What made me think about this, besides watching my big guy take his rest and recovery seriously, is that after several weeks in a row of flying high, traveling, doing races and events, and hitting it hard with my training, my body has decided to let me know it has been working hard. It’s been creaky and cranky, and to top it off it has decided to sport an annoying head cold.

I know, wah wah wah…BIG DEAL.

I couldn’t agree more.

Although it’s inconvenient and slightly annoying, it happens to all of us, and I realize it’s something I signed up for, so there’s no complaining. The trick is to figure out how to keep the momentum going despite these minor niggles.

Our bodies have a way of letting us know when we need to scale back, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m honoring it for how hard it has been working, treating it like royalty, and cutting myself some slack. My smart coach has helped in this department too. Matt insisted I take the entire day off yesterday to rest. That’s why I’ve had time to write!

I’ll be back at it today though, nearly powered back up to 100% again. And tomorrow I’ll be taking on the six-hour triple brick workout, which has me giddy. As this mouse meme below suggests, workouts like that may be tough, but they will definitely make me stronger, both physically and mentally! I can hardly wait.

For the next five weeks, my plan is to train like a mouse and think like a dog until I get to the starting line in Tempe.

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Here’s what last week’s schedule looked like if you’re interested:

Monday: Swim 30 min, Bike 60 minutes, mini massage from Stephanie on my cranky legs and hips
Tuesday: Run 75 minutes on a rolling course
Wednesday: Yoga and also launch the fall season of the Roosevelt Running Club, one of my fav kids running teams (!!)
Thursday: Bike 1 hour, Run 1 hour, Swim 40 Minutes
Friday: Bike 3 hours on hilly course, Run 45 minutes off the bike
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Bike 45 minutes, Stretch class 60 minutes

Here are a few snaps…

Monday I had to deep to find my mojo on a tough day. I thought adding a little Tempe training camp and tri swag would help put me in the right frame of mind while I rode on my trainer after my mini massage.

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A little swim afterward felt good on tired legs–especially using a pull buoy! Ha ha.
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Tuesday’s run put me in my happy place once again. It’s hard to go wrong on Mt. Drive when you have a view like this.

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Wednesday was bittersweet, as my favorite yoga instructor, Erin DiAngelis, taught her last class at the Y. She’s moving away, and I will miss her terribly, but I’m also filled with gratitude for all the joy and positive energy she has brought into my life. Good luck on your next exciting adventure Erin! The world is your oyster, my friend.
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Wednesday we also kicked off the 10th season of our Roosevelt Running Club–something that has brought tremendous joy ever since I created this program with my husband when our daughter was in 3rd grade. There’s nothing like sharing your passion and seeing that spark of excitement in the next generation of runners!
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Like many of you, whenever I run I try to focus on the beauty around me and appreciate how lucky I am to be able to enjoy it. It feels more and more important these days as we slog through one of the most vile presidential elections I can ever remember. Although I try to shake it off and clear my mind when I run, I often find myself fighting to keep that heavy fog of negativity from invading my happy place. Is anybody else feeling this way right now?

I’ve always been eternally optimistic (probably annoyingly so), but this election seems to have brought out the worst in our country, and it weighs heavily on my mind, especially raising a daughter who is watching it all unfold. I guess that’s when I really need to focus on the beauty around me, including those people in my life who always remind me that daily acts of kindness and compassion are far more powerful than any sleazy political statement could ever be.
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On Friday, I had another 3-hour hilly ride with a transition run afterward. Once again, this took some digging, but I got it done. Here I stopped at the top of Ortega Ridge Road to refill my torpedo water bottle before zipping down Greenwell, continuing on to Carp, then circling back through the hills.
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On the way back it was the usual tour of 192 with side jaunts up Shephard Mesa, Toro Canyon, Ladera Lane and Ortega Ridge again.
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And then a late afternoon transition run off the bike afterward along Chase Palm…

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I have to admit, I was very happy to be done. Sometimes during challenging weeks, you just have to stop, take a deep breath, and remember how far you’ve come, and celebrate all the things you’re able to do now that you weren’t when you first started, even if you know you still have a ways to go.
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Saturday was my day off, and I was happy to be able to volunteer at the FoodBank to help sort and box donated food, which will feed hungry families in Santa Barbara County. My friends, the Mansbachs, have organized Family Day at the FoodBank on the second Saturday of every month, and lots of awesome families come to volunteer. It’s easy, uplifting, and always worth the 2-hour investment of time, knowing that this simple effort will make a difference in our community.

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Even though I rested on Saturday, I had the energy of an armadillo on Sunday as my cold, which had been niggling me all week, walloped me good. I opted to ride on my trainer instead of the road (much easier to have Kleenex handy), then I went a super mellow 1-hour stretch class to try to find my Gumby oooom.
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Then Monday rolled around again (already–time is flying!!!)….

Here’s what this week’s schedule looks like:
Monday: Run 2hrs 45 minutes
Tuesday: Bike 1 hour, Pilates/strength
Wednesday: Yoga, Run 45 minutes and run with my kids running team
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Bike 1 hour, Run 30 minutes
Saturday: Bike 1:3o, Run 40 minutes, Bike 1:30, Run 40 minutes, Bike 1:30, Run 40 minutes
Sunday: TBD

As I’ve been trying to get back to 100%, I’ve been resorting to wheatgrass juice, perhaps the most foul tasting thing on earth, but packed with so much good stuff, I’m suffering through it. It definitely falls into the “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” category.

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As many of you know if you’ve been following along on my blog, I’ve trained in lots of different conditions since January to try to prepare for whatever might be thrown at me on race day. I’ve weathered torrential rain, excessive heat, freezing cold, blasting wind, hills, flats, high altitude, open water…yadda yadda. I can now add illness to the things that won’t stop me on race day, having run 17 miles with a fairly unpleasant head cold on Monday. One step at a time, you just get through things.
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I was glad to have this one in the books, especially with the wind adding to the “fun.”
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Tuesday, after a short 1-hour ride, I went to one of my fav Pilates classes with Kristine, then lifted weights before heading home to recover like a dog. I’m still trying to master the art of the nap, but all I can do is keeping practicing. 🙂

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Wednesday I went to yoga, and although the new instructor wasn’t remotely close to being as phenomenal as Erin, I still got in some stretching and strengthening so it was worth the effort. It was especially good before I did my run, and also ran with my kids at Running Club, where they chased me with abandon in a rousing game of tag. Love these awesome kids!

As we head into the weekend, I’ll be thinking about three things: training like a mouse, thinking like a dog, and fundraising like a champ — a champion for kids that is, who need our help. I couldn’t be prouder to be a member of Team Empower and raise funds for Smile Train, an outstanding organization providing life-changing cleft surgery for kids around the world. The difference this simple 45-minute surgery can make is immeasurable.

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To date, I’ve raised enough funds to provide 23 new smiles for cutie pies around the world. My goal is 5 more smiles.

I leave you with this exciting news: one of my supporters recently pledged to donate one new smile ($250), and also to match five more smiles. That means any time someone makes a contribution of $250, he will match it so two kids will have life-changing cleft surgery instead of just one. How remarkable is that?!

I hope you will consider making a donation. There are only 5 weeks to go to make this happen. We can do it! And of course, ANY amount helps, from $2 to $2,000. No amount is to small or too large. Today is a great day to give up your Starbucks in exchange for helping a little one!

Here’s the link to make a donation: BECKY’S SMILE TRAIN PAGE.

Thanks for considering, and thank you for being such powerful, positive forces in my life. Your simple acts of kindness and support remind me that no matter how bonkers our world can get at times, if we surround yourselves with good people, our lives will always positive and meaningful.

Until next time…here’s to keeping our chins up!
xo Becky

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

Kicking off My Journey to Ironman Arizona
Week One of Ironman Training: Believe
Week Two of Ironman Training: The Power of Friends
Week Three of Ironman Training: I Think I Can
Week Four of Ironman Training: Progress
Week Five of Ironman Training: Wind at my Back (and Front) and Peeps by My Side
Week Six of Ironman Training: Baking a Cake
Week Seven of Ironman Training: Courage
Week Eight of Ironman Training: It’s All About the Base
OMG, You did WHAT?! (AKA Sleep Deprivation + Training = Embarrassing Moments)
Week Nine of Ironman Training: Growing Pains
Week Ten of Ironman Training: Trust
Week 11 of Ironman Training: Speedbumps and Breakthroughs
Week 12 of Ironman Training: A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken
Week 13 of Ironman Training: Spring!

Week 14 of Ironman Training: Rollercoaster
Week 15 and 16 of Ironman Training: Staying Happy and Healthy

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

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss
Week 24 of Ironman Training: Consistency is the Key
Week 25 of Ironman Training: Embracing New Challenges
Week 26 of Ironman Training: Hills, They’re What’s for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Week 27 of Ironman Training: Taking This Show on the Road (Tri-cation!)
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Tri-cation
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Fun Continues
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Rocky Mountain High
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Finishing Aspen Strong
Week 29 and 30 of Ironman Training: Rollercoasters, Crazies, and Comebacks
Week 31 of Ironman Training: New Heights
Week 32 of Ironman Training: 100 Days to Go
Week 33 of Ironman Training: The Art of Recovery and Balance
Week 34 of Ironman Training: The Magic of Firsts
Week 35 of Ironman Training:Chasing the M-Dot with Toughness Training
Week 36 of Ironman Training: Miles of Opportunities
Week 37 of Ironman Training: IMAZ Training Camp and Tempe Tri Race Report
Week 38 of Ironman Training: Much to Celebrate and Carpinteria Race Report
Week 39 of Ironman Training: Why I Tri and Try

Week 38 of Ironman Training: Much to Celebrate and Carpinteria Triathlon Race Report

The beauty of sports, triathlon in particular, is that it gives us much to celebrate — from the healthy community in which we immerse ourselves to the friends we make, to the adventures we pursue, and the boundaries we continually push all along the way. Even on our toughest days, it’s hard not to be filled with gratitude about our health and fitness, and be gobsmacked about the lifestyle we have chosen to live.

Last Sunday I had the perfect reminder of all this when I found myself wrapped in a blanket of positive energy while participating in the Carpinteria Triathlon.

It was an exquisite morning in Carp, as once again our coastline was brushed in a classic palette of pink predawn hues. The race started at 7:30, with my swim wave rolling at 7:42. I arrived in plenty of time to unload my gear, pump up my tires, and make sure my bike was in the right gear before I set up my transition area.

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I chose to participate in the Olympic distance course–1.5K swim, 40K bike, and 10K run–similar to the prior weekend’s race in Tempe. Even though this was meant to be another training run, this time I felt a little more fire in my belly to compete, perhaps because I wasn’t starting the race depleted, like I did in AZ. I was well-fueled, relatively well-rested, and ready to roll.

When I staked out my spot in transition, I could tell there was a serious competitor next to me. She was the first to rack her zippy tri bike on the coveted end spot and was most likely out doing a warm-up run. Sure enough, upon her return, I discovered it was Mariann Thomas, one of our community’s fiercest triathletes and masters runners. She’s as nice as can be, but a warrior in competition.

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After chatting with Mariann and several friends, I got body marked, did a warm-up run, then scoped out the water. The waves sounded like they were crashing big over the dunes behind transition so I was getting a little nervous (as were several other women around me), but much to our relief, the water was calm and warm.

I did a short warm-up swim, which felt good, then I struck a pose — a “power pose” that is — ha ha (watch this TED talk video if you don’t know what I’m talking about), and in no time our wave of purple caps ran into the water.

It wasn’t until I reached the first buoy that I finally got into a rhythm that felt good. That’s where I found the feet of a big guy and began drafting behind him. As all of you strong, smart swimmers know, this is what you do to save energy. If you’ve been following along on my blog, by now you probably know that I’m still working on becoming a strong swimmer, so this was huge for me. In fact, it’s the first time I’ve ever drafted because I’ve always been afraid of getting kicked in the face. The guy in front of me was using all arms and barely kicking though, so I slipped in behind him and got pulled along. Now I understand what a difference it can make!

The first half of the swim faced away from the sun, so every once in awhile I’d pop my head up to make sure my guy was on track. He was a rock star “sighter” so mostly I kept my head down and let him do the work (sorry dude). After we reached the turn buoy though, and headed back into he sun, I was completely blind so I didn’t bother to look up any more, instead, following his feet, sighting along the beach at times and hoping for the best. It ended up making for one of the strongest longer open water swims I’ve ever had…that is until my guy, and a couple others, turned in too early, at the first beachball buoy. It took me a while to realize it because I couldn’t see, but squinting through my goggles, I suddenly realized I didn’t see anybody swimming toward shore. Shit. Shit. Double shit.

It’s then I tread water for what seemed like forever, raising my goggles trying to locate the other turn buoy and the rest of the pack. The lifeguard hollered, “Are you okay?” to which I laughed and thought, Not really–I just blew it, but you never joke about not being okay when you’re in the water. So……after the guards pointed to the other buoy, I took off to finish what I started, trying to get back into my zone and finish strong. My Garmin said I swam a couple hundred extra yards, and my time supported that notion, but eventually I got the damn thing done. The funny thing, is that even though it wasn’t fast by any stretch of the imagination, it was still faster than last week’s swim in Tempe (the cup is half full, right?).

I looked at it as yet another mistake to get out of the way before IMAZ. I think I’m good now. 🙂

Even though I was irked at myself, I shook it off in transition and didn’t have any other misadventures on the bike or run. I felt good on the bike, as I know this course well. In fact, I’d just done Toro Canyon and Ortega Hill on my “hill day” a few days earlier. Another woman in my age group and I duked it out over the first half of the course. She was quicker on the flats and I was stronger on the hills, so we kept passing each other. That is until we reached Ortega Hill and I took off. I even dug deep trying to shore up some nerves to fly down Greenwell, which in my mind, is in severe need of re-surfacing. I never saw my competition again after that.

But I did see another rock star athlete. As we turned back onto Linden Avenue and headed toward the beach and the transition area, I had the joy and agony of passing 12 year old Jacob Mansbach. This kid, and his 10 year old brother, Joe, are something. These two are not only already participating in endurance events beyond their years, and killing it, I might add, but they do so, in part to help raise money for our local foodbank.

Jacob started a team called Join Jacob several years ago, and with the help of teammates, he and Joe have since raised nearly $46,000 to help feed hungry people in Santa Barbara County. Very cool, no two ways about it, combining love of sport with love of philanthropy. My daughter and I had the privilege of being part of this team a couple years ago and it’s something we’ll always remember. If you want to see what the Mansbach Boys are up to and would like to support their efforts, you can click on this link to their fundraising page. JOIN JACOB

As I passed Jacob, I couldn’t help but cheer him on and celebrate his accomplishments, but also laugh and think, Holy crap, I’ve been training my butt off all year to do a friggin’ Ironman, and this kid, who is a full-time junior high school student, is already as strong as I am! We zoomed into transition together, then he zipped out much faster than me. By the first half mile I caught up and we chatted a bit, and I reminded him to stay hydrated and to pace himself. He clearly didn’t need any advice (!!) , but because I coached him a few years ago on a couple of my running teams, and his parents are my friends, I couldn’t help but feel like he’s still “one of my kids.” Needless to say, he knocked it out of the park, as did his younger brother, Joe. I’m so impressed with these two, and their parents, Jen and Mike, who support them in every way. Bravo Mansbachs!

1st Place Finishers!

1st Place Finishers, Jacob and Joe Mansbach

The run was hot (85+ degrees), but I felt confident on the course. I knew it well and I had prepared for the hills and heat, and the trails we would traverse. Before I reached 2 1/2 miles, Mariann Thomas came gliding past me in the opposite direction, gracefully heading to her 1st place finish. I wasn’t sure how many other 50-54 year olds were behind her, but my gut told me that if I really wanted it, I might be able to snag a podium spot, even with my swim fiasco. That is if I could reel some people in and not let anybody pass me.

Indeed, I was able to pass quite a few people along the way, including one woman in my age group (thank goodness they write our ages on the back of our calves). When I reached the turnaround and started heading back, I spotted my fellow “bike pal” competitor making her way to the turnaround. Even though I was probably half a mile ahead of her, it suddenly felt like she was right on my tail, and I had no idea if running was her “thing.”

The phrase that popped into my head was, How Bad Do You Want It, from Matt Fitzgerald’s excellent book on mental toughness, so off I went, ramping it up a tiny bit more with each half mile. With the downhill grade on the way back, it was easy to run negative splits, but feeling like my competition might get a second wind, I pushed it, running the final half mile at 7:26 pace, which is speedy for me these days.

It’s funny, I’m all about running my own race, never getting into other people’s heads, and simply “doing my thing,” often even cheering for other athletes as I race, but for some reason, my bike pal, who I’m sure is extremely nice, lit a fire in me that got me to the finish line faster than I probably would have otherwise. So thank you bike pal!

I ended up taking 3rd place in 3:07:59. The second place finisher from Virginia crossed the line 49 seconds before me, and Mariann Thomas finished in champion form with a time of 2:47:35. Way to go ladies! And way to go to everybody who participated in both the sprint and the Olympic. It was a fun community event that let us test our training and celebrate our efforts and each others’.

finishers

Top 3 Finishers. Notice Mariann finished so far ahead of us, she had time to go change her clothes before the awards ceremony. 🙂

I was happy to finish this race 18 minutes faster than my last one in Tempe, on a much tougher course. One small step closer to IMAZ.

Here’s what the rest of my schedule looked like last week:

Monday: Rest (recovering from epic training and racing in Tempe)
Tuesday: Run 20 minutes (only part of a longer scheduled run and swim) and get a massage (aaaah!!!)
Wednesday: Yoga, Bike 3 hours with hills
Thursday: Run 54 minutes with the last 15 minutes 7 x 1 minute hard (1 min rest)
Friday: Swim 3500y (wu: 300, ms: 3 x 1000, cd: 200)
Saturday: Bike 3 hours
Saturday: Race Carpinteria Tri

Here’s a quick recap of the week before the race if you’re interested….

At the beginning of the week I was beyond exhausted from my race and training camp in Tempe so I took Monday off completely. On Tuesday, I was still dragging, but had still planned to do a 45 minute recovery run and a 40 minute recovery swim before getting a massage. Sometimes life has other plans though, so I only ended up only being able to squeeze in a 20 minute run before the rest of the day unraveled. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.

Wednesday I was still fatigued, but I dragged myself to my favorite yoga class, as I knew that’s what I needed most. I moved through all the poses and got in some good stretching, but I can’t say I ever settled comfortably into my mat. Some days/weeks are like that though, and you just have to celebrate that you got your butt there. And that’s what I did.

After class I was still operating in low gear with a friggin’ 3 hour hilly bike ride still ahead of me, AND a flat back tire still to change from Tempe. Argh. This mama’s Namaste quickly went out the window as I battled my tire, feeling like a complete nincompoop and not having the patience to get it done. I finally I threw my hands in the air in an “Un-Iron(wo)man way” and said, “Screw it, I’m taking it to Hazard’s.”

If any of you have ever spent time in Hazard’s, you know the bike mechanics are max’ed all the time. This place is hopping. I felt bad waltzing in and hoping they could change my tire on the spot, but these guys are so nice, not only did Dino change it, but he gave me a tutorial, patiently walking me through the whole process and even having me do it myself. This small act of kindness was definitely something to celebrate as it made a huge difference in my day. Thank you Dino!

dino

Dino at Hazard’s

Even with Dino’s kindness, I can’t say I was stoked to do this ride–especially in the heat of the day–but sometimes you just gotta get rolling and turn your brain off. Don’t think. Just go. As I rode into the hills trying to turn my mental game around, it kept coming around to my coach, Matt. This guy has helped me get stronger with each workout, has answered all my dumb “newbie” questions, has pushed, encouraged, and inspired me, and has put together my weekly workouts, which always challenge me. Although I may have dropped a few f bombs along the way as I huffed up each hill, I got this ride done. And I only got this ride done because Matt was in my corner. I never would have done this on my own on this particular day with the way I was feeling. So thank you once again, Matthew Tague, for pushing me through the rough spots.

After dragging myself up Shephard Mesa. I'm smiling on the inside--really.

After dragging myself up Shephard Mesa. I’m smiling on the inside–really. Just don’t read the bubble coming out of my head.

Thursday, it was a running day. Yay! As we’re getting closer to IMAZ, we’re now focusing on specificity, and doing my runs on terrain similar to that of the Tempe race course, which is mostly flat. I chose to drive to Goleta Beach Park and run part on the bike path and part on the dirt path that parallels the bike path. It was warm and windy–perfect! Just like Tempe. Must have been because I wore my Tempe Tri shirt.

goletabikepathrun92216

I ended up running 6 miles with 7 x 1 minute hard efforts near the end. Woohoo! Love the challenge and the way I feel once it’s over.
goletarun92216
Friday was a swim day and Saturday was another 3 hour bike ride–this time on a flat course to keep working on my cadence. Once again, I zipped from East Beach down to Ventura and back on the bike path paralleling the 101. Forty-six beautiful miles in the books to prime me for the Carp Tri the next day.
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bike92316rincon
As I head into Week 39 of training, I continue to celebrate all of YOU, the people in my life who lift me up, support my dream and make this Ironman journey meaningful and fun beyond measure. I also celebrate all the small acts of kindness you have extended to me all along the way. It really does take a village to get to the starting line of your first IM. With just eight weeks to go, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about all of you, and celebrate the fact that I have you in my life!

Thank you, dear peeps!
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 36 of Ironman Training: Miles of Opportunities
Week 37 of Ironman Training: IMAZ Training Camp and Tempe Tri Race Report

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 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!

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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.

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

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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.
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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!!

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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.

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My reward for my persistence was date night with my IronHusband, and a little Thai food to refuel.
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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.

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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.

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It was nice running on a freshly graveled road for part of it, making each step a little softer.
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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.

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Here’s the start of the race…happy hour at its finest.
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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.

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And even happier that evening when the opening ceremonies finally took place for the Olympics! Go USA!
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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).

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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!

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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