Week Twelve of Ironman Training: A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken

For the past three months I’ve completed nearly every one of my training sessions solo, with the exception of a couple swims and a few group classes, so it was a treat to be joined by friends last week for a couple workouts!

First, Kate Elliott joined me for part of a run after her early morning Thursday strength class.

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Don’t be fooled by her sweet smile…she’s a fitness beast!

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Then on Friday, Jenni Miller joined me for part of a ride during my swim-bike-run workout (sorry I didn’t snap any pictures–too busy pedaling).

Training with friends makes all the difference, especially when things get tough. Last week’s volume was lighter, but my body was still feeling REALLY grumpy, perhaps letting me know that when you accidentally do a full century the weekend before, you might feel it later. Ha ha. Or when you ignore things, they don’t always magically go away.

What brightened my day was riding part way up Gibraltar with Jenni. Chitchatting about life while you’re cranking out the miles takes your mind off everything but the fun. Thank you Jenni! After we parted ways, I still had a couple more hours of riding solo, which was fine, but definitely not comfortable or joyful. That is until out of nowhere, fellow SB Tri Club member, John Abrami, appeared on Shoreline Drive, pulling me along and putting the zip back into this ride. Thank you John! You have no idea what a difference you made in those few miles we rode together.

Not only did John and Jenni lift me up, but so did friends who happened to be driving in my direction near the end of my ride, rolling down their window to offer encouragement. Sometimes it’s the tiniest things that pick you up! Thanks Brett and Wendi! The run afterward? Let’s just say I was grateful for all the positive vibes that surrounded me on that day.

I don’t share any of this to complain or say, “Woe is me,” because my issues are not special. We all have them. And who wants to hear about other people’s aches and pains? NOBODY.

I only share this with you to celebrate the extraordinary power of friends.

It reinforces the notion of one my favorite proverbs:”A bundle of sticks can’t be broken.”

As an individual “twig,” when the pressure of training and life pushes hard, it’s easy to be snapped in half, but with the support of friends, family, coaches, teammates, and other supporters, our “bundles” become nearly indestructible.

This sits on my desk at home, a gift from one of my dearest friends. It's a constant reminder of the strength that always surrounds me.

This sits on my desk at home, a gift from one of my dearest friends. It’s a constant reminder of the strength that always surrounds me.

My bundle showed its strength even more after my workout on Friday when my friends and massage therapists extraordinaire, Larry & Stephanie Trager, squeezed me in for a little work on my angry ribs and back. Thank you Tragers!

You can imagine how much I appreciate Coach Mike in the mix of my bundle of sticks. This week he’s scaled my schedule way back so my body can hit reset. His wise council and experience are what will keep me healthy and moving forward. I’m so grateful to have him in my corner.

This is what’s on tap this week:
Monday: Swim 1200y
Tuesday: Run 40 minutes, Bike 60 minutes
Wednesday: Swim 1000 y
Thursday: Friday: Bike 2.5 hours, Run 30 minutes off the bike
Friday: Off
Saturday: Run 60 minutes, Swim 1000y
Sunday: Off

Here are a few snaps from Saturday’s long run. After being surrounded by friends during Friday’s “mini tri day,” I ran solo again–this time for 1 hour and 50 minutes. I opted for mostly softer surfaces, doing loops around the flat trails at the Douglas Preserve, then running on grass over at La Mesa Park, then down and around Shoreline Park.

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Stopping to take in the view and stretch out my back for the umptienth time.

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This is what I look like when I’m trying to muster up a smile because I’m so freaking happy to be putting this run behind me. Some days you just gotta suck it up buttercup and get it done. The good news is that it can only get better!

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And just for fun, here’s a little randomness… Continue reading

Week Eleven of Ironman Training: Speedbumps and Breakthroughs

So far Ironman training has been a series of many highs, a few lows, and a whole lot of “regular days” thrown in along the way. It’s kind of like life, right? If every day was a high, we’d never appreciate it because we’d have nothing with which to compare it. It would just be our “normal.” It’s kind of like the Tibetan proverb, “Pain exists to measure pleasure.”

The reason I get so stoked about a great training day or a little breakthrough is knowing that I’ve finally overcome a struggle or “challenge,” and I’ve come out stronger in the process. You all know that feeling, I’m sure. Small victories that really only matter to us. The reason I share them with you isn’t to brag, but to say, “If I can do it, you can do it.” No matter where we’re at in our training or where we started, we all have goals we’re trying to achieve, and if we do the work, we will reach them.

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Photo credit: Apple Fitness

This week I’ve had several small breakthroughs, which have me doing a happy dance. One involves swimming, one involves cycling and one involves running–I guess you could call this a mini “tri”-umph (sorry, couldn’t help myself). Scroll down a little further to read about it if you’re interested.

In the meantime, here’s what this week’s schedule looks like:

Monday: Swim 1500y
Tuesday: Run 1 hour tempo run
Wednesday: Swim 2500y, Bike 1 hour
Thursday: Run 50 minutes, Kate’s strength and stretch class
Friday: Swim 1000y, Bike 2.5 hours, Run 20 minutes off the bike
Saturday: Run 1 hr 50 minutes
Sunday: Rest

Cycling Breakthrough: I completed my first 100-mile bike ride last weekend during the Solvang Century! If you follow me on Facebook, you already know the story, but for those of you who don’t, here’s what happened: I had originally planned to do the metric century, which is 70 miles with 1,380 elevation gain, but somehow I missed the turn-off and soon discovered myself deep into the full century course. Oops! The only thing I could do was laugh and embrace the challenge. I ended up riding 100 miles with a 5,351 elevation gain. Yowza! It was double the distance I had ridden up until then. And you know what? IT WAS AWESOME!

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The best part is the mental boost I got from it. Not only was it gorgeous riding through wine country (imagine lush green rolling hills after a big rain the previous day–sorry I didn’t stop to take pictures), but it also threw several challenges at me, which were great for my training….like being REALLY cold for a couple hours at the start, being blasted by wind often and using my aerobars much of the course, riding with all kinds of cyclists and avoiding crashes from wobbly people inching up hills to massive pace lines blasting by me. I also got to practice how much I can eat and drink while riding (a lot, by the way), and figure out the best way to alleviate discomfort, which is inevitable when sitting on a bike for seven hours.

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By the last sag stop at mile 83, I was dreaming of the finish line, especially as I overheard several veteran riders talking about the upcoming hills with fear in their voices. One guy overheard them too, and started chatting with me as I was about to get back on my bike. “Those hills are nothing,” he said. “We’ve already covered so much elevation, they’re like little speedbumps. You go get it, girl. Don’t take nothing from those hills!” And that’s what I did, powered up every single one of those #$*% “speedbumps.” Thank goodness for second winds that seemingly come out of nowhere and for random people who know exactly what to say at exactly the right time.

Running Breakthrough: Last Friday, I realized that I finally stopped worrying about re-injuring my hamstring. Maybe it’s that Mike has me running at a slower pace, but I no longer feel that tinge of hammy woes when I run. It used to pull/strain with every stride and now it doesn’t! This is huge because the fear of going back to those dark months of not being able to run has lingered for a long time, and until now it still didn’t feel 100% healed. I think I’ve finally turned the corner! HUGE happy dance!!!!

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Here are a few pictures from last Friday’s rainy jaunt, an hour-long run after my morning swim. Everything was so fresh and green, it was a treat. I snapped these right before it started pouring.

 

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Swimming Breakthrough: After my century ride on Saturday, Mike scheduled me for an easy 1500y swim on Monday to let my body recover. Normally, I’d break it up into 500y increments or shorter, but this time I decided to see if I could swim all 1500y without stopping. You know where I’m going with this…cue the happy music…yep, I got it done at a moderate pace and I didn’t even feel like I was dying! When I first started training, 500y felt epic for me, and I always felt miserable. Now I know without question that I will be able to swim 2.4 miles (4224 y) by November. And I don’t think it will take me 3 days to do it! 🙂

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Photo credit: Popsugar

Gear test: After riding 100 miles last weekend, it became painfully clear that I need a new saddle for my bike. The one that came stock on my bike is hard as a rock–fine for sprint tris and shorter distances, but not so comfy for the long haul. Whenever I have a bike issue or question, of course I head to Hazard’s. Bruce and Matt are the best. Today Bruce got me set up with this Cobb Plus saddle to demo. I’m excited to try it out today. Think extra cushy thoughts for me….

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Smile Train Update: This was a week to celebrate in the fundraising department too! Thank you Stephanie Trager, “Anonymous Donor,” and Joe & Maria Fazio for your generous contributions this week! We are now 58% of the way to our goal of funding 20 kids for corrective cleft surgery.

“I’m so happy to be able to change the life of a child and know that he or she will now be able to face the world with confidence,” one donor recently expressed.

We’re just $100 away from funding our 11th child! IF YOU’D LIKE CONTRIBUTE AND BE A ROCK STAR SUPPORTER PLEASE CLICK HERE!

Happy trails everyone. I hope you all have a great week!

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