Week 41 of Ironman Training: Mind Over Muscle

Thank you IMAZ training for reminding me once again that I can do hard things. Yesterday I had a 6-hour triple brick workout (bike-run-bike-run-bike-run) and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it because before I even set out on this long day, I had a knot in my calf the size of a baseball. You know, the kind of knot that keeps you up at night and leaves you walking like a pirate with a peg leg. I decided to get on my bike anyway, and see what I could do, hoping it would magically work its way out. Well, you know what happened…the rest is history. Done. Done. Done. Done. Done. Done. #mindovermuscle #doepicshit(asElkeoftensays)

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It definitely wasn’t easy, but I had no illusion that it would be. I didn’t get started until nearly noon because I had a meeting to attend at 10:30. It was a late start to a long day, but I’m glad because it mirrored what race day will feel like, especially running in the chilly evening.

As all my endurance athlete friends will attest, when you’re out on the road for a long time, you get to see and experience a boatload of interesting things.

Here is just a sprinkling of what I saw yesterday:
A ukulele club performing at East Beach
A wedding
A vintage military plane flyover
A lacrosse tournament
The tiniest little guy (2 years, if that) riding his scooter in the middle of the bike path, blissfully zigzagging, oblivious that he was about to get taken out multiple times while his parents were staring at their phones
Teenage boys doing flips off sand dunes
The Vietnam remembrance wall
A drum circle
Tourists in their tourist bubbles
Surfers riding perfect waves
Drivers opening car doors without looking to see a cyclist coming (eek!)
My coach! What a surprise to see Matt’s smiling face in the middle of my second brick as he seemingly appeared out of nowhere while I stopped to snap a picture of these flowers. His words of encouragement added another dollop of fuel to my motivation. Thanks Coach!
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A car full of teenage boys, music blaring, crossing over a double yellow line, recklessly trying to pass four cars at once (sadly, I think we’ll be reading their obits before long)
Fellow IMAZ’er, Elda Rudd, running along the bike path (so bummed we didn’t coordinate our workout!)
A street band entertaining passersby
A gorgeous sunset over Butterfly Beach
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Stopping for a minute to drink in the moment.
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People taking a bazillion selfies (including a couple of my own-ack)
Lovers embracing
Several runners out doing their long training runs
The Maritime Festival
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A group of dudes hanging out at Leadbetter, and me overhearing, “Dude, that chick has been running for hours. I saw her when we got here a long time ago.” 🙂
The wind…the #%$! wind…which I consider a gift, even if I loathe it, because it’s helping me get stronger and preparing me for race day. It reared it’s head big time on my last brick. Brrrr. Glad I had a wind jacket.
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A STUNNING full moon rise…the kind you see in children’s books…the perfect end to a perfectly challenging and fulfilling day.
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Good night moon.
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As cliche as it sounds, doing your first Ironman truly is about the journey. The race is one day, but the road to the starting line is hundreds of days and thousands of hours. It’s important to love, appreciate, and honor all the ups and downs of those training days, even on toughest ones. Otherwise what’s the point? I can honestly say, this journey has far surpassed any expectations I ever had. Just learning that I can bike and run for six hours with a knot in my calf taught me something new: our mind is by far our strongest muscle.

Only 35 days to go now!!

Until next time, my friends…
xo Becky

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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 39 of Ironman Training: Why I Tri and Try

Endurance athletes are often asked, “Why?” … as in “Why in the world would you possibly want to do this?” Or “Why would you spend so many of your precious waking hours training?” Or “Why would you put your body through this?”

Everybody’s answers are different, or course, for pursuing an Ironman, an ultra or any other endurance event, and many reasons are complicated, but almost all involve the joy of a challenge and the pursuit of health and fitness while pushing personal boundaries.

My reason for tri’ing involves all of those things, but on a more basic level, it all comes down to one simple reason: I do it because I can.

At 50, I still have the outrageous gift of health, which I never EVER take for granted– especially having a father who only lived to 51 and mother who only lived to 70. Many people take this gift for granted and quickly discover their lives become more and more limited.

Being healthy, trying new things and pushing well beyond my comfort zone makes me feel alive like nothing else. As does being scared poopless and figuring out ways to keep moving forward, despite it. That’s why this Ironman journey is so meaningful to me.

biggestchallenge

The other “Why” I get is, “Why would you add fundraising and philanthropy to your plate when you’re already performing a juggling act trying to find enough hours in the day to train while writing and managing all of life’s other joys and responsibilities?”

The simple answer is “Because I can.”

Being able to do something for somebody else, and help make a difference in the world, even if it’s a tiny difference, is really what it’s all about. People helping people–plain and simple.

The bigger question is why wouldn’t you help if you could? Why wouldn’t you help a little cutie pie who had the misfortune of being born with a cleft lip or palate? Why wouldn’t you try to piece together $250 for a 45-minute surgery that would completely change the trajectory of his or her life?

SmileTrainPicWhen I joined Smile Train’s Team Empower, my goal was to meet the team minimum of raising $5,000, which would provide new smiles for 20 kids. Anybody who knows me though, knows that doing the minimum isn’t my style. Like all of you, when I’m in, I’m in 100%. In this case, I’ve decided I’d like to be in 140.6%, in honor of the 140.6 miles I’ll be tackling on November 20th in Tempe. If I meet that goal, that means 28 kids will receive life-changing surgery. How cool is that?

Once again, it comes down to, “If I can do more, why wouldn’t I?”

With just 49 days to go (!!!), I’m reaching out to all of you to ask for your support. If 10 people donate just $25, another child will be able to face his or her future with a bright, confident smile instead of being kept out of school and hidden away in shame. That, my friends, is big stuff. You don’t have to be wealthy to help make a big change in someone’s life. You just have to be willing to say yes when small opportunities arise. This is one of them.

I hope you will consider contributing. Together, we truly can make a difference.

Here’s the link to my fundraising page: BECKY’S SMILE TRAIN. It only takes a minute to donate. And don’t forget, anybody who donates $250 will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card. Those who donate $125-249 will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card.

•  •  •

Now that I’ve shared the reasons I tri and try, I thought I’d let you in on a bit of fun news. This email arrived from USA Triathlon on Wednesday. It seems I’ve qualified for the 2017 National Championships in Omaha, Nebraska. Talk about a surprise! I’ve heard Omaha is one of our country’s garden spots, so perhaps it might be time to venture to Nebraska. 🙂 Who else is going to Omaha in August?

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The other exciting thing that happened this week is that my tinted goggles finally arrived! After two races of swimming into the sun completely blind, this totally made my week. It’s the little things, I tell you. You may remember when I first started training, it took me months, and at least 6 pairs of goggles, to find ones that fit my face. These are slightly bigger than my clear ones, which are women’s, but it seems they don’t make tinted ones for women (really?). The dork factor is high with these, but fortunately, they work. Hallelujah!

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As I keep on keepin’ on with my training and fundraising, here’s what last week’s schedule looked like:

Monday: Rest/recovery day
Tuesday: Swim 40 minutes
Wednesday: Run 2 hr 20 min (14 miles)
Thursday: Swim 45 minutes, Bike 1 hour on the trainer
Friday: Run 30 minutes, Swim 30 minutes
Saturday:
Bike 5 hours (80 miles)
Sunday:
Rest/Recovery

Here are a few snaps from the week…

Wednesday’s long run was a hot one, as I intentionally ran in the heat of the day again to get my body accustomed to the challenge. It also gave me the opportunity to dial in my hydration, nutrition, and salt intake–all crucial things when you’re going to be in motion for hours (and hours…and hours).
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It said 79 degrees, but it felt more like 89 to me.
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Besides running in the heat of the day, the other thing I did was run the entire 14 miles on concrete and asphalt to simulate the pounding my body will take on race day. Up until now, I’ve mostly been running on grass and trails to try to avoid injuries, with a few miles of asphalt mixed in along the way. The IMAZ run course is similar to our bike path along Cabrillo Blvd–lots of concrete. After doing this run, I remembered why I hardly ever run on this unforgiving surface anymore. From here on out, I’ll have to be extra smart with recovery. Ice may become my best friend. 🙂
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Luckily the next day was a pool day…
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And a bike trainer day…

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It was nice to be able to spin and crack open this new book, which I’m enjoying.

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Friday was another swim and run day. Sometimes I feel like I live out of my car as I’m always headed somewhere with a swim bag or a bike and always a plethora of water bottles.

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Before my swim, I did a quick shake out run from the Y in Montecito down to the Biltmore and back.

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It was another beautiful, warm fall day.

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Sometimes I missing having real seasons in California, but it’s hard to complain when you get to train on days like this.
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Yesterday morning I set out early on my 5 hour ride. It was a spectacular day and another great opportunity to practice everything I’ll be doing on race day, especially my nutrition, which is the crucial fourth element of triathlon. I’m learning it’s all about timing and focus, ingesting calories and carbs before you’re hungry (not always easy) and staying ahead of dehydration and salt depletion. You can’t just space out and let your mind wander or you’ll pay the price at the end of the bike and/or on the marathon run.

Breakfast was the first order of the day. To properly fuel and avoid gut issues, most people have to get up and eat at least a couple hours before working out so everything has a chance to digest. For me, this meant 4:45. Even two hours early wasn’t quite enough time for my stomach, so it looks like it will be a 3:00 am wake-up call for me on race day.

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I began my ride at East Beach and pedaled down to the Rincon area, 20 miles away, then looped back around and did it all again. The IMAZ bike course is a series of three 37-38 mile loops, so I thought it would be a good idea to simulate the course and also keep working on my mental game. Yesterday’s ride had a few more hills than Tempe, but it’s the flattest course I can find around here. Doing loops also helped with logistics as I could replenish my hydration after the first loop. I apologize for the TMI here, but the biggest challenge with drinking 128 ounces in 5 hours is that you have to pee A LOT. I’m told that athletes just go on their bikes during the race (eeew), but I wasn’t quite ready to practice that just yet, so having a bathroom at East Beach was also appreciated. 🙂
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It was a gorgeous morning, and although a few parts of my body were being cranky, I was still smiling, knowing I’m one step closer to crossing the finish line in Arizona.
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As we head into Week 40 of training, I’m staying focused on the process — one day, one workout at a time, and doubling down on nutrition and all things recovery-related. By focusing on the process, or journey, rather than the outcome on November 20th,  I will stay in the moment and enjoy what I’m doing while I’m doing it–even if it is a sufferfest at times.

I’m also going to focus on raising funds for 8 more kids so they receive life-changing surgery from Smile Train. I can think of no better fuel to keep me going! If you feel so inclined, your contribution would mean A LOT. Once again, here’s the link if you’d like to help make a difference: BECKY’S SMILE TRAIN.

Thanks for your support and generosity and thanks for continually being there for me! Sharing this journey with you has been one of my greatest joys.

Until next time…
xo Becky

Smile Train Ironman Arizona

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 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’.

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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!

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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.

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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.
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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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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 34 of Ironman Training: The Magic of Firsts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, guess what? This happened!

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

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

“Be brave even if you have to pretend.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

100s

Plank

SidePlank
Seriously, Doodles?

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

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

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

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

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

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

T1Training

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

T2Training

TransitionPractice

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

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

XO
Becky

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

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

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

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

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss
Week 24 of Ironman Training: Consistency is the Key
Week 25 of Ironman Training: Embracing New Challenges
Week 26 of Ironman Training: Hills, They’re What’s for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Week 27 of Ironman Training: Taking This Show on the Road (Tri-cation!)
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Tri-cation
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Fun Continues
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Rocky Mountain High
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Finishing Aspen Strong
Week 29 and 30 of Ironman Training: Rollercoasters, Crazies, and Comebacks
Week 31 or Ironman Training: New Heights
Week 32: 100 Days to Go
Week 33: The Art of Recovery and Balance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, I took my still somewhat fatigued legs for a short recovery run along the Bird Refuge. Often these little jaunts are what help your legs come back to life (at least after the first bit where they feel like cement).
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BirdRefuge
And it worked. Not too bad. Then a little cool down and stretch before heading to the pool for my swim workout.
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I opted to swim outside at the Montecito Y, where I’m usually able to enjoy a lane of my own. That was the case this time too, except I barely got my workout in before the grannies took over the pool for their aqua-aerobics class. These ladies are serious about their aqua-fitness so I don’t mess with them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thankfully, we also ended up here on our day to play as a family…a little jaunt down to the Getty Villa in Malibu.
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It was nice to be able to spend time with my loves and not have to think about getting a workout in after our little adventure to Malibu.

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

GibraltarView

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

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

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

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

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

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

BeachwithGirls

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

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

XO
Becky

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

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

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

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

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss
Week 24 of Ironman Training: Consistency is the Key
Week 25 of Ironman Training: Embracing New Challenges
Week 26 of Ironman Training: Hills, They’re What’s for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Week 27 of Ironman Training: Taking This Show on the Road (Tri-cation!)
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Tri-cation
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Fun Continues
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Rocky Mountain High
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Finishing Aspen Strong
Week 29 and 30 of Ironman Training: Rollercoasters, Crazies, and Comebacks
Week 31 or Ironman Training: New Heights
Week 32: 100 Days to Go

 

 

 

 

Week 32 of Ironman Training: 100 Days to Go

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

32Weeks

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

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

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

CoffeeDate

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

100Days

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

Here’s this week’s training schedule:

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

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

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

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

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

GoletaBeach

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

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

GobSign

FocusonStrength

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

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

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

Strive

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

GibraltarRoad

GibralterRideHot

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

TriTeamBagStuffing2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss
Week 24 of Ironman Training: Consistency is the Key
Week 25 of Ironman Training: Embracing New Challenges
Week 26 of Ironman Training: Hills, They’re What’s for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Week 27 of Ironman Training: Taking This Show on the Road (Tri-cation!)
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Tri-cation
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Fun Continues
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Rocky Mountain High
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Finishing Aspen Strong
Week 29 and 30 of Ironman Training: Rollercoasters, Crazies, and Comebacks
Week 31 or Ironman Training: New Heights