CFE Ironman Plan 2.0

Road map and training strategy for Ironman Arizona 2017

Sideline Reporter: You just finished your masters and spent the last two years killing yourself in business school – what’ll you do now?

Me: I dunno, work out?

[Airhorn]

[Confetti falls amidst laser light show, fireworks and white people dabbing]

In 2016 I aimed to get back into endurance sports – hard – and committed to complete my first ultramarathon in December of that year.

I laid out my Ultimate Ultra Plan and felt good to go for 50 miles. Then, after a routine 20-mile training trail run, my left foot developed a disturbing bruise on the inside arch.

With my history of Posterior Tibial Tendonitis (PTT), I decided to act like a grown-up and avoid escalating a mild bruise into another major injury.

I backed out of the 50-miler and prioritized starting 2017 as healthy as possible to gear up for the next big race:

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The Ultimate Ultra Plan: Take 1

Nutrition, gear and strategy for my first ultramarathon

Three years ago – almost to the day – I crossed a huge goal off The List and completed my first Ironman triathlon: Ironman Arizona 2013 in 13 hours and 30 minutes.

After the race, still high from one of the best experiences of my life, I wrote:

As much as I’m tempted to keep basking in my Ironman glory, I need to keep moving if I want to make this experience truly last…I can’t wait to build on this momentum and launch into new projects and races on the horizon.

Since then, projects ended up taking priority over races, and I spent most of my free time and energy outside of work in business school pursuing my MBA.

Now that I’ve graduated, I’ve shifted gears back to endurance racing and set my set my sights on tackling my first ultramarathon: the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50-miler, on Dec. 3.

That’s two weeks away.

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Foot Fight 2: Getting back to barefoot

A minimalist runner’s battle to overcome posterior tibial tendon dysfunction continues

My Foot Fight began in 2012 when I suffered my first running injury. I was on a six-mile pseudo barefoot run in Vibram FiveFingers, at night, on a dirt path, when my left foot slammed on a rock. It shook me up, but I pressed on – like an idiot – and finished my run.

A few weeks later I completed the Lavaman Olympic Triathlon and then finally faced the music: a stress fracture of the second metatarsal.

Since then – despite the upsetting prognosis, and later a collapsed arch and Achilles tendon issues – I’ve kept the faith in minimalist running, committed to getting back to barefoot and trudged along the slow road to recovery.

Even though I’ve made a ton of progress, I’m still dealing with foot issues from those injuries – four years later. Namely: posterior tibial tendon (PTT) dysfunction.

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CF January Race Report: Polar Prowl Half Marathon

As I mentioned in my anti-“new year, new you” post, I’m planning to ramp up my running in 2016. I’ll be focusing on improving my time and strength in the half marathon distance while running 12 half marathons in 12 months.

A lot can happen over 12 months: Changes in diet, new training approaches, and (in Colorado) the impact of varying seasons. So, I’ll plan to share with you a race report for each new race I run, filled with the training approach I took, goals going into the race, most memorable parts of race day, results, and key learnings that I’ll use moving forward.

First up: Polar Prowl Half Marathon – Lakewood, CO – January 9, 2016

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Set Your Foundation

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I’ve sat down three different times over the past 10 days to write an inspiring “go get ’em” piece” filled with how-to’s on sticking to your goals, starting that healthy diet, or picking up an exercise routine that works for you.  While I was inspired by the standard January chatter online about promises for the coming year, my words on the screen just seemed empty and expected. So, rather than going that route, I’m going to share with you some key things I learned about myself in the last few months of 2015 and how I hope they can translate to – and inspire – your (read: our) success in 2016.

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Coming Clean

And then there was silence.

Embarrassment, self-reflection and redirection led to a seven month lapse since my last post, and some tough decisions. I have more than accepted the fact that I’m an impulsive person. I’m inspired easily; I get grandiose ideas and want to act on them NOW; and I love pushing myself. I do, however, pride myself on the fact that I’ve (for the most part) learned to recognize and suppress those tendencies. I really am a logical and responsible person. Seriously.

In August 2014, I relapsed.

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Sophomore jitters

An inventory of early Ironman excitement the second time around

When Adam and I set out on our Ironman journey, we thought it would be fun to document the process and let it all hang out there. It started as a little side thing we’d have fun with, documenting our victories and failures throughout the year-long road to our first Ironman.

It turned out to be much more than that.

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Writing not only gave us the unique opportunity to tune in to the often overlooked details, but it allowed us to share with our friends and family exactly why we were always so exhausted on the weekends and not raging at the Swizzle Inn with everyone else. When we got to the starting line, Tri For Les followers were right there with us and knew exactly what we had put in to get there. It was really something special.

I’m excited to start blogging about my next journey, but I’m curious how it will compare to the excitement of the last go-round. After all, that was my first Ironman! Now? I’m just an Ironman who signed up for another race. Whoopee.

Registration

Let’s take a look back at the Q&A I answered In November 2012 right after registering for Ironman Arizona: Cecily Ironman Q&A November 2012

Thinking back, there are three specific words that come to mind when I took the plunge and registered for my first Ironman: excitement, fear, uncertainty. I remember leaving the registration tent with my brother that morning and the only thing either of us could think or say was “holy shit” with the sudden panicked urge to go for a long bike ride that weekend.

I remember having to make a conscious effort to tell people “I’m training for an Ironman” as opposed to “I’m trying to train for an Ironman.” I was overwhelmed with the end picture, but I was confident that I would put in the work to get as close to making it a reality as I could.

Registration for Ironman Boulder was exciting and still somewhat of a “holy crap” moment, but it was much different. I signed up online, had a little chat with my coach about the road ahead, and then grilled up some steak for dinner. Just another race added to my calendar. No biggie.

Let’s take a closer look at how those rookie feelings compare to this year. Below, I’ll answer the same Q&A, with new perspective:

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Finish line void

How to keep fitness a priority without a big race on the horizon

Footrace finish line, 1925

The desert heat didn’t used to phase me.

Three years ago, in my first triathlon blog post, I talked about staying motivated to conquer the pivotal battles that ensue on the sun-induced pre-dawn training path.

A year after that article, upon registering for my first Ironman triathlon, I went on to write about how Keanu taught me the importance of showing up.

Back then, with Ironman Arizona in my sights, I had no problem navigating the heat, waking up early for workouts, rushing to the gym after work, and squeezing in late-evening runs.

Now, about nine months after crossing the Ironman Arizona finish line, I’m singing a different tune.

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Ironman Boulder or Bust

“It’s undeniable that completing an IRONMAN race is a huge challenge. But it’s a challenge that close to 100,000 people accomplished in 2013. This means that with smart training and reasonable goals, it’s attainable. I, for one, cannot wait to toe the line again.”
Alison Patillo

For the past few months, I’ve watched and listened in envy as friends of mine have trained for and competed in half and full Ironman races. Hearing their struggles of injuries and exhaustion mixed with the excitement of hitting new milestones has left me first in awe of their perseverance and, second, in complete thirst to get back in the game.

But, Cecily, didn’t you recently write about enjoying those oysters and not letting a stupid race define your existence? Guilty. Still important. However, what if the timing were right and another race on the horizon were manageable? What if all the pieces fell together?

“Pay close attention to where your mind wanders in the shower. Your natural wanderings are your compass to what’s truly interesting to you.”

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