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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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On Wednesday, after going to yoga, I did a 2-hour hill ride, ending it with a short jaunt of Gibraltar Road.

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

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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!
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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.

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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.

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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?).

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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!

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Feetures Elite Socks: Love these squishy, compressiony socks!

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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). 🙂
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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.

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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

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Week 24 of Ironman Training: The Key is Consistency

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

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

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

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

Here a few snaps from the week…

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Bike ride through Hope Ranch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xo Becky

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

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

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

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

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

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss

It has been an epic couple weeks around here, both in training and on the home front. It’s enough to lift a girl ten feet off the ground then lay her out flat, exhausted. That’s the life of Ironman training, it seems. Highs and lows. The trick is to try your damnedest to stay consistent in the midst of life’s rollercoaster. And that, my friends, is where I’m at right now. Blurry eyed, but keeping on track and still having fun, thanks to the huge support of my family and coach.

Epic Inspiration: Last night I had the honor of meeting Ironman legend, Julie Moss. Listening to her inspiring talk, which she presented to the SB Tri Club meeting, was one of the big “highs” of this week. You see, Julie Moss is the very reason I am doing an Ironman.

For those of you who do not immediately recognize her name, let me take you back…

It’s 1982 and ABC’s Wide World of Sports is broadcasting the Ironman World Championships in Kona. In the women’s division, a 23-year old unknown college student is leading the race much of the way. It’s the ultimate underdog story. That is until her legs give out with just a couple miles to go. Severely dehydrated, she falls down, gets up, falls down, gets up, and falls down while viewers around the world are on the edge of their seats cheering for her, fighting back tears. I’m 16 years old and completely riveted, yelling at the TV, “Get up, Julie! You can do it! Come on, you can do it! You’re almost there!” Her grit is awe-inspiring. She gets up again, staggering, then with just a few yards to go, she falls one last time. Our hearts collectively sink as the 2nd place woman, Kathleen McCartney, passes her. What never ever leaves us though, is the image of this warrior, Julie Moss, crawling across the finish line in the most dramatic Ironman finish ever. Pure epic-ness! I still get goosebumps when I see the clips. (click HERE if you want to watch it).

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After witnessing that moment on television, I knew one day I HAD to attempt an Ironman myself. I never thought it would take me 34 years to get to this point, but the point is that I never gave up on that dream, or pushed it aside thinking it was too late. Hopefully I won’t be crawling across the finish line, but whatever race day brings, I’ll be happy because I let that seed up inspiration grow inside until it blossomed into something I could no longer “not do.”

As you can imagine, it gave me tremendous joy last night to be able to pay homage to Julie and tell her what an impact she made on me, along with so many others. #fangirlforlife

Epic swim: If you’ve been following along on my Ironman journey, you know that swimming has always been a challenge for me. When I started training back in January 500 y was agonizingly hard. I had to stop every 50-100 y to catch my breath and I loathed the process. Well, I’m here to tell you that anything is possible with enough hard work. Just a few days ago I swam 2.5 miles (4400 y) without stopping, and I didn’t even feel like I was going to die! This was HUGE for me because it finally got me over the mental hurdle of knowing I can get through this part of the race. Woot! Now it’s time to take it to the ocean where I’ll be practicing swimming in the mix of others and working on my speed.

Epic ride: Sunday I completed a solid 65-mile ride with a some hills and intervals mixed in along the way. This is the longest ride I’ve done to date (with the exception of my accidental century back in March–click HERE if you missed it). I won’t lie, the last 5-10 miles weren’t easy, mostly on my cranky knee, but after focusing on my recovery–icing, foam rolling, stretching, good nutrition and rest–I’m back in business and heading out the door for another ride this morning.

Here’s what my training schedule looked like these past couple week:

May 30-June 5
Monday: Bike 45 minutes
Tuesday: Run 60 minutes, Swim 60 minutes, Pilates
Wednesday: Bike 90 minutes with hills, yoga
Thursday: Swim 3100y, Run 60 minutes, Pilates
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Bike the SB Tri course (34 miles with hills), run 15 minutes off the bike
Sunday: State Street Mile with our Coyotes (jog the course–2 miles), 50 minute trail run, stretch class

June 6-12
Monday: Swim 2450y, Bike 60 minutes, Killer Kate’s strength class
Tuesday: Off (family day)
Wednesday: Run 60 minutes
Thursday: Bike 90 minutes on a hilly course, Run 40 minutes
Friday: Swim 4400 y
Saturday: Run 60 minutes on trails
Sunday: Bike 4+ hours (65 miles) with intervals

A few epic snaps from the past couple weeks…

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More inspiration from Julie Moss.

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

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Trail run at Lake Los Carneros

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

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

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Sushi lunch! And granola balls my daughter made for my training. Seriously delish!

Epic moments: Continue reading

Weeks 19 through 21 of Ironman Training: Transitions

Learning to glide through transitions during a triathlon is both a science and an art form, and it’s an easy way to gain “speed” if you become a master at it. In T1, you go from the swim where you’ve been horizontal on the water, paddling for anywhere from 10 minutes for a sprint tri to 2 hours for an Ironman. As soon as you’re on land, you remind your legs how to run, all the while unzipping your wetsuit and peeling it down to your waist. Then you whip off your googles and swim cap as you run to your transition area where your bike is racked. There, as quickly as possible, you peel off the rest of your wetsuit, slip into your bike shoes, put on your helmet, sunglasses and race belt, then run your bike out to the designated area where you’re allowed to mount it and begin powering on the bike course.

In T2, after you finish the bike portion of the race, you dismount your bike, run it back to your transition area and re-rack it, then change from your bike shoes to your running shoes, hopefully remembering to take your helmet off before starting the run (ha ha).

Simple, right?

Except of course, your brain is usually mud after the swim, and all the bikes look the same (and there are hundreds of them racked in row upon row), not to mention your hands are cold from the water so they often don’t function normally. Then there’s your wetsuit, which loves you so much, it never wants to leave your body; and your feet, which are often covered in sand if you’re doing an ocean swim, make it fun to put on your bike shoes.

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It’s easy to lose focus and dilly-dally in the transition area or freak out and hop around like a chicken with its head cut off. Either way, you waste precious “free minutes.” In a sprint tri even a second or two can mean the difference between the podium and “mere mortal” status. It pays to practice so it becomes second nature, and you stay calm and focused as you move to the next part of the race.

Transitions have been on my mind a lot lately because May has been a big transition month with my training. At times it’s been a little unsettling, but it’s all starting to come back around again where I’m regaining my focus and my Ironmama mojo.

The biggest transition is that I have a new coach–Matthew Tague. He’s an Ironman and a cycling powerhouse who brings a great mix of enthusiasm, expertise and hands-on coaching. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s already taught me a ton in very little time. While my old coach was awesome on many, many levels, when you’re training for an epic event like this, sometimes you don’t know what you need until you’ve been at it for a while. It took me four months to realize that a more hands-on approach would be better for me, especially one focusing on the bike portion of training.

All the other transitions I’ve been navigating revolve around family and daily life, which may not sound like a big thing, but anybody who has trained for an Ironman knows that time and logistics are some of the most challenging parts of training.

As the end of the school year fast approaches and my sweet girl will be heading off to junior high, it seems everything is happening all at once–paperwork due, assemblies, spring concerts, ballet performances. Then there’s simply squeezing in workouts in the midst of obligations like taxi’ing my dancer to ballet class every day or orthodontist appointments (she just got braces), or supporting my husband when he needs to be out of town to help his parents. Throw in taking care of sick kiddo for a week, then being taken down by the same gnarly virus, May was challenging. Life definitely does not stop when you’re training for an Ironman!

I’ve also been coaching two of my beloved kids running teams–the Roosevelt Running Club and Kids Corner Coyotes. It’s pure joy for me, but it also takes many, many hours or organizing and communicating with all the parents to do it well. My Roosevelt team just ended its season last Wednesday (way to go Rough Riders!!), and our Coyotes will finish up this Sunday when they run the State Street Mile. Woohoo! So excited for these awesome kiddos!

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In case you’re curious, here’s what the past three week’s schedules have looked like

May 9-15
Monday: Rest–sick
Tuesday: Bike 1 hour–sick
Wednesday: Rest–sick
Thursday: Pilates–sick
Friday: Run 30 minutes–sick
Saturday: Run with our Coyotes kids running team
Sunday: Core Rest

May 16-22
Monday: Killer Kate’s strength & stretch class, Bike 75 minutes
Tuesday: Bike 1 hour, Run 25 minutes, Bike 1 hour, Run 15 minutes, Swim 30 minutes
Wednesday: Yoga (yay!), Run 60 minutes
Thursday: Swim 1600 y with 1000y TT, Pilates
Friday: Bike 2 hours with increased efforts
Saturday: AM Run 40 minutes, Swim 2800y with 50-100y elevated intensity, PM Run 40 minutes
Sunday: Rest

May 23-30
Monday: Bike 1 hour, Run 35 minutes
Tuesday: Bike 70 minutes
Wednesday: Yoga (yay!), Run 45 minutes trail run
Thursday: Run 60 minutes, Swim 30 minute (recovery), Pilates
Friday: Bike 1 hour 30 minutes, Swim 45 minutes
Saturday: Rest (run with our Coyotes kids running team)
Sunday: Bike 90 minutes, Run 45 minutes, Bike 45 Minutes, Run 15 minutes

Snapshots…

Wednesday’s trail run at More Mesa was gorgeous, and a fabulous way to unwind after an epic day of putting on our Roosevelt Running Club grand finale Magic Mile race and end-of–the season awards extravaganza. I was whooped before I started my run, but felt energized by the end. I was also stoked to try out my new Hokas!

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Even though it was so freakin’ windy I nearly lost my visor over the cliff twice, I was happy to be handed such a great wind training day. How ’bout that hair?!

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Sunday we awoke to a gray, damp morning, but that didn’t stop me from having fun doing my double brick workout…bike 90 minutes on a hillier course…run 45 minutes…bike 45 minutes with 10 x 2 minute intervals…run 15 minutes. I loved this challenging workout! It left me happy and tired–the perfect combination.

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Smile Train Update: With the help of our awesome Roosevelt Running Club who raised $271.20 for Smile Train as their philanthropy project, and their amazing supporters, Patty Bryant and Kevin Young, I have reached my fundraising goal of $5,000, which will fund 20 kids for life-changing cleft surgery!!!! And thanks to Ruth Weber and our Kids Corner Coyotes running team, we are now on our way to funding our 21st child for surgery!!!

I am so grateful to everybody who has supported this project so far! You are helping make a HUGE difference in the life of a young person, and you are making my first Ironman all the more meaningful.

If you’d like to make a donation, please click on this link to contribute: http://support.smiletrain.org/site/TR/AthleticsEvent/General?px=3630403&pg=personal&fr_id=1701. As you know, no amount is too small. And remember anybody who donates $250 will entered into a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card, and those who donate $100-$249 will entered to win a $25 gift card.

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As we head into June (can you believe it?!?!), I’m filled with excitement about the summer ahead and a whole lot of unstructured time with my family and friends, and a whole lot of structured time with training. Less than six months to go until Ironman Arizona! Yowza! I think I can…I think I can…

So far this journey has been nothing but joy, even on the hardest days, and much of it has to do with the support I’ve received from so many of you. Not sure how I got so lucky!

Okay…time to get back at it…heading out for another run and a swim…hope your last day of May is great!

xo
Becky

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

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

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

Week 17 and 18 Ironman Training: Inspiration and Purple Rain

Weeks 17 and 18 of Ironman Training: Inspiration and Purple Rain

It has been a busy, busy few weeks. That’s why you haven’t heard from me here on my blog. Thanks to all of you who’ve checked in on me, worried that something was wrong. I assure you, all is well. Something just had to give in the midst of training, coaching my kids’ running teams, and juggling a jam-packed family schedule. Sadly, writing has become a bit of a luxury these days (at least for the moment).

As I think back over the past few weeks, the word that comes to mind most is “inspiration.” I’ve been inspired by so many awesome people and moments of kindness and creativity, it makes my heart swell.

One highlight was having the privilege of volunteering at the Special Olympics School Games with my husband Jeffrey. The spirit that surrounds these games is phenomenal, and the joy that each of these athletes exudes is contagious, especially during the opening ceremonies. Pure awesomeness in motion, bringing out the best in everybody.

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The best part was sharing this fantastic morning with my husband.

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I’ve mentioned Kate Elliot (aka–Killer Kate) several times here before on my blog. This chiquita brings such joy to fitness, she makes working out at 7 am palatable, even before I’ve had my morning coffee. Last week she kicked my butt in her class at The Lab, then joined me for a run along Chase Palm Park. So much fun!

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Kate’s chirpy attitude inspires me so much that I asked her to come talk to my Roosevelt Running Club. I often ask mentors in our running community to share their passion for running with our kids to help get them fired up about a lifetime of health and fitness. Needless to say, the team loved her as much as I do. Here they’re gathering around her and sporting some of her race medals.

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Another person who inspires me is my running hero, Patty Bryant. She’s an extraordinary ultra-marathoner and Iron(wo)man who takes on some of the world’s most challenging races (Hard Rock 100, Western States, Leadville 100, Mont Blanc, to name a few), and more importantly, she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Some of you may remember that I wrote about her last summer when I had the joy of running small portions of  the Aspen Backcountry Marathon with her (click HERE if you missed it). This week I asked Patty if she’d come speak to our Roosevelt Running Club, and she gladly agreed, even in the midst of her busy training schedule. The kids were mesmerized by her adventures and full of all sorts of questions, which was fun to see.

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I know both she and Kate planted tiny seeds in many of these young runners to dream big and chase after life. Best wishes to Patty as she takes on The Canyons 100k race this weekend in the Sierras, along with several other Santa Barbara friends (Monica & Joe DeVreese and Dave & DeAnna O’Dell), and good luck to Kate who is taking on the Born to Run 30 Mile Endurance Run next weekend! Woohoo! Go girl!

Favorite New Gear: New bike shoes! The week before last, just as I was about to head out on a ride, the buckle broke off on one of my “well-loved” bike shoes. Argh. I could no longer clasp it shut, meaning my heel would come out each time I pedaled. My first instinct was to duct tape it (duct tape is God, as we often espoused in college), but none could be found in the short window I had to ride, sooooo….my Plan A schedule quickly went to Plan B…a little shuffling around of my workouts and an added spin class the next day. Fortunately, I was able to get new shoes for my ride a couple days later.

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Riding in my sparkly new cycling shoes (it’s the little things), this girl was flying high–especially on such a gorgeous day! Can you say blue sky?

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Here’s what my training schedule looked like the week of April 18-24:

Monday: Swim 2900 y, Bike 1 hour
Tuesday: Bike 90 minutes (bike shoe broke), worked on strength instead
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Swim 1800y, Killer Kate’s strength & stretch class, Spin Class
Friday: Swim 1000y, Bike 2.5 hours
Saturday: Run 45 minutes
Sunday: Rest

Seeing purple…I don’t know about you, but Prince’s death hit me hard. I’m not even sure why. It’s not like I was an insane “Super Fan,” or anything, but I did like his music, and whenever I heard it, it tickled great memories–mostly from my freshman year in college. Purple Rain, 1999, Raspberry Sorbet…all songs that remind me of college friends and raucous Friday afternoon shenanigans.

As the tributes started pouring in for Prince last week, his level of creative brilliance revealed itself in ways I’d never fully appreciated–especially his collaborations with other artists. If you haven’t seen his performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame paying tribute to George Harrison (While My Guitar Gently Weeps), you might want to take a peek. Holy epic-ness!

Powering through my training days following Prince’s death, his music popped up on my playlist many times, and each time it made me both happy and melancholy…and a tad bit nutty. Okay, okay, I gotta admit it, I was the lunatic Continue reading

Week 15 and 16 of Ironman Training: Staying Healthy (and Happy)

I’m often asked how my training is going, which is incredibly sweet. I’m humbled that so many of you are interested! Overall, I feel like it’s going well. Actually, better than “well.” It’s going REALLY well. Here’s the thing…when you’re training so many hours a day/week/month, something is bound to hurt. There usually isn’t a day in which something isn’t creaky or cranky or just plain sore. And that’s okay. I’m asking a lot of my body and it’s allowed to complain when it’s pushed beyond what it has ever done.

What I’m trying to do though, is keep from letting those “cranky joints or muscles” turn into injuries. Some days it feels like it is coming close to crossing that line. That’s when I spend more time foam rolling, stretching, icing, and strengthening. If an ache gets a little too grumpy, I let Coach Mike know. Over the last week or so, my knee crossed that line so Mike scaled back my schedule. I didn’t do my usual “Epic Day” on Friday, but rather replaced it with an easy swim, a rest day and an easy bike ride the next.

This week is much the same, focusing more on the swim and bike, and testing the waters with the run on Saturday. Ironman Arizona is still seven months away so it’s important to stay healthy and happy and not get stressed about the ups and downs. Here’s this week’s schedule…

Monday: Swim 2900 y (1.65 miles), Bike 1 hour
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Bike 90 minutes
Thursday: Killer Kate’s strength & stretch class, Swim 1800 y
Friday: Swim 1000y, Bike 2.5 hours
Saturday: Run 45 minutes
Sunday: Rest

This was last week’s modified schedule:
Monday: I was supposed to rest, but missed Mikes’ message and did a 2550y swim anyway (oops)
Tuesday: Run 60 minute tempo, Swim 2100y
Wednesday: Bike 90 minutes (with 20 minutes of climbing up Gibraltar)
Thursday: Killer Kate’s strength & stretch class, Swim 1600y
Friday: Rest day (busy celebrating my hubby’s birthday)
Saturday: Swim 1000y, Bike 4 hours, Run 30 min   Swim 1500Y
Sunday: Run 1 hr. 45 min    Bike 60 minutes

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Last Thursday I had the pleasure of going to our monthly SB Tri Club meeting, where Coach Mike was our guest speaker. As many of you know, Mike is a PT extraordinaire and owner of Elite Performance & Rehab, where he works with many top athletes. He talked about injury prevention and answered people’s questions about their aches. The thing that hit home most is when he said one-half to three-quarters of all injuries occur because of weakness in the core/trunk (hips/glutes/back/abs). It was the perfect reminder for me to re-double my efforts and focus on my core. How about you? Is your core as strong as it could be?

Doing the work…

Working on my core will help my swimming too, and man oh man, swimming….sigh…it’s still such a work in progress. My husband was really sweet and videotaped my swim last Saturday. Talk about eye-opening! I still have A LOT to work on, but I’ll get there (or at least closer to “there” than I am now). Now I just have to figure out how to keep improving my stroke. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

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One thing that has given me solace is this pace chart I found. My greatest fear has always been making the 2 hours and 20 minute cut-off time for IMAZ. When I see this chart though, I realize that even if I swim significantly slower than I normally do, I will make it, especially if I keep working my ass off.

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I didn’t take a lot of pictures over the last week or so, but here’s one as I was heading out for another ride…love our blue skies!

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Favorite new gear: I am loving my new rabbit running duds, which arrived last week!! rabbit was recently launched by two of my running friends, Monica DeVreese and Jill Deering. Aren’t these fierce, fit women adorable?

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I’m proud to say that I’m part of the Founder’s Club of this awesome running apparel company (along with lots of other rad runners). If you like super comfy, non-fussy running clothes, I think you’ll like what they’ve designed. What’s especially great is that it’s all made right here in the USA. Here’s a peek at the women’s line.

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I opted for the bunny hop tank in snorkel blue and cherry tomato and the hopper shorts in black. I’m picky about my running shorts, and in fact have a hard time finding ones that don’t drive me nuts. When you have a small(er) waist and bigger caboose and quads, it makes it challenging to find shorts that fit. Jill and Monica did a great job of getting the Hopper shorts just right.

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In case you want to check it out yourself, here’s the website. http://www.runinrabbit.com. They also have a men’s line.

Skratch Labs energy chews. The other thing I’m glad I discovered is Skratch Labs’ chews, which are great on a long ride (thanks Kate for the recommendation!). What I like about these is that they’re tasty and natural and they don’t have a waxy, sticky feel to them. They’re more like gum drops in texture. Did I mention the yum factor?

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Smile Train Update: I’m over the moon…we have funded our 18th child for cleft surgery!! Thank you Janet Cook, Mark & LeAnn Green and Artaz Heating-Plumbing for your generous donations this week! We only have 2 more kiddos to go until we reach goal of changing the lives of 20 children. If you’d like to make a donation, please click on this link to contribute: http://support.smiletrain.org/site/TR/AthleticsEvent/General?px=3630403&pg=personal&fr_id=1701. As you know, no amount is too small. And remember anybody who donates $250 will entered into a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card, and those who donate $100-$249 will entered to win a $25 gift card.

Smile Train Ironman Arizona

I hope you’re all getting out and making your day great! I’m continually inspired by all the creative, healthy and philanthropic things I know you are up to. And OMG….HUGE CONGRATS to my friend Jenni Miller who ROCKED the Boston Marathon yesterday, finishing in 3:28 (an 18 minute course PR). Talk about BostonStrong and IronStrong! Yay, Jenni! I’m so proud of you!

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xo Becky

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

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

Week Fourteen: Rollercoaster

Week Fourteen of Ironman Training: Rollercoaster

This week has whizzed by so quickly and has been such a rollercoaster, my head still feels like it’s spun around backward. Today is my rest day though, so I finally have a chance to slow down and chill. When weeks spill over with activities, commitments and appointments, it reminds me that often the hardest part of Ironman training is simply chiseling out the time to do the workouts, then of course finding the energy to complete them.

This week, after regrouping from spring break, I was up until the wee hours several nights working on taxes and getting our beloved Roosevelt Running Club organized for its kickoff. Needless to say, when my alarm went off early Monday morning, I felt like I needed a caffeine IV drip to drag myself to the pool. Settling for a mongo cup of coffee, I piled into my car and gave myself a pep talk the whole way (“Don’t think, just go. Don’t think, just go. You got this.”)…only to arrive to this…

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Argh. Clearly, it was time to dig even deeper. Fortunately, when I posted this on Facebook several friends immediately offered back-up solutions. It was like there was no way they were going to let me fail at training. Thank you friends! Especially Greg, who offered a guest pass to the tennis club near our house. He even swam laps in the lane next to me. So, so nice.

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My beautiful “back-up” swim location at the Tennis Club.

This workout reinforced mightily though, that sleep deprivation has no place in Ironman training. Every lap felt ten times harder than normal, and with my fuzzy brain, I kept hitting the wrong buttons on my Garmin. I also realized I mixed up my swim workouts so I did Wednesday’s instead of Monday’s. Not the best way to start the week, especially since my ride afterward wasn’t much better. But I got it done, and that’s all that matters.

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

Monday: Swim 1800y, Bike 90 min.
Tuesday: Run 60 min., Bike 75 min including 20 minutes of hill climbing
Wednesday: Swim 2300y
Thursday: Killer Kate’s strength & stretch class, Bike 60 min.
Friday: Swim 1000y, Bike 4 hours, Run 20 min. off the bike
Saturday: Run 90 min with 2 x 10 min pick-ups
Sunday: Rest

Tuesday’s run and ride weren’t much better than Monday’s after being up late again, but what made them better was bumping into several old neighbor friends along the way. On Jesusita trail I ran into Kathy who was hiking with a friend, and although we only talked for a minute, her sweet words of encouragement helped lift my feet a little higher.

Then in the evening after slogging through my ride, especially up Gibraltar, I rode down the street where we used to live and bumped into several old neighbors. Chatting with Ruth for a few minutes put everything into perspective. She never has anything but kind, encouraging words, and her strength and positive energy are palpable. Many of you who live in Santa Barbara may have heard the recent devastating news of the murder of Dr. Henry Han, his wife and 5-year old daughter. Well, Dr. Han was the lovely human being who was helping Ruth kick liver cancer’s ass. Now she’s not only grieving with so many others, but starting all over again with her treatments. My “tough training problems?” Clearly laughable. Ruth is an Ironwoman every day whose fortitude is no match for cancer or any other challenge.

After chatting with Ruth the evening before, my rollercoaster of a week started on the upswing. Continue reading