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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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How do you prefer your oysters?

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Hello, old friends. It has been over seven months since my brother and I crossed the finish line in one of our greatest accomplishments to date.

So, where are we now?

You know that star QB on your high school football team who is now 30 years post-grad, cracking open a Budweiser or Coors (heavy, of course), still wearing his State Championship ring and letterman’s jacket and talking about “the glory days” when he threw a 60 yard pass to the end zone? Yeah. That’s how I feel.

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Ironman training plan, Crossfit Endurance style

A comprehensive look at the training logs, resources and thought processes behind my first Ironman triathlon

Double unders

About a year ago, I not only showed up and committed to taking on my first Ironman triathlon, but I also pledged to use an unconventional training program that focused on strength training and shorter distances at higher intensities.

The program is called Crossfit Endurance (CFE), and now that I’ve got my first Ironman in the books, I can say to you without a shred of doubt that it works.

But back then, I didn’t know it was going to work, so I spent hours researching CFE Ironman training plans to make sure I was headed in the right direction.

I found a lot of helpful resources and great advice – which you’ll read about later on – but I was never able to find a comprehensive, detailed training plan that didn’t require some form of payment or subscription.

To remedy that, for anyone in the same position I was in, I’m going to share my complete training logs, workout routines and resources, for free.

In this article, you’ll also read why I decided to go the CFE route (rather than the more conventional Long Slow Distance (LSD) approach), see what resources I used to help formulate my program and learn key tips to keep in mind when following CFE.

To begin, let’s take a look at the main reasons I opted for a Crossfit Endurance program, rather than LSD.

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Lookin’ good, doin’ good

Tri for Les t-shirts raised over $400 for the Arizona Humane Society!

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Here you have it: proof that we didn’t run off to Belize with the revenue generated from our Tri for Les: IMAZ edition t-shirts

The Tri for Les community donated a grand total of $416.33 to the Arizona Humane Society in honor of our animal-loving aunt Leslie.

We dropped off the check the day after our big race (notice the tired in our eyes in the photos here).

Here’s an idea of what the donation amount will cover:

  • The average cost to care for an animal until it’s adopted ($300)
  • “Mercy grooms” for two neglected animals with painful, severely matted coats ($50 x 2)
  • Food and vaccinations for one animal for a week ($10)

We’re happy to have been able to give something back during our Ironman journey, and lucky to have such a generous crew in our corner.

Thanks to everyone who bought a shirt, rocked it on race day and otherwise supported the cause.

You guys rule! Be sure to remember that every time you wear, see or daydream about these shirts.

– Live every day –

Adam and Cecily