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.

imaz start

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?

finish

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!

TFL AZHS

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

AF race report: Ironman Arizona

A recap with lessons learned from my first Ironman triathlon

medal

Three weeks ago, I crossed the finish line at Ironman Arizona in 13:30:18 and accomplished my biggest goal of the year: to become an Ironman.

The race was one of the best experiences of my life and I still haven’t come down from that high.

I frequently brag talk about the feat to anyone who’ll pretend to listen, replay the day in my head, and scroll through finisher photos, articles and notes from the race.

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.

Similar to my excitement at the beginning of the year to conquer Ironman Arizona, I can’t wait to build on this momentum and launch into new projects and races on the horizon.

But before moving on to what’s next (which I’ll detail in another article), I’m going to share analysis of my performance at Ironman Arizona.

By evaluating my performance and sharing the gory details, I hope to not only cement the takeaways in my head, but also offer insight to help other Ironmen in training.

Read on for an updated report of my taper week, analysis of the swim, bike and run, plus major lessons learned from drinking too much sports drink (hint: lots of time wasted in the Port-o-Potty) and failing to plan for the first few hours after the race (hint: a cold, stiff, delirious and cranky Adam).

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IMAZ Race Recap & Life After

“It’s been said that the Ironman marathon is the place where you meet yourself – inner voices that never existed before suddenly roar, weaknesses neglected in training become painfully clear, and new reserves of strength manifest themselves in awe-inspiring ways.”Susan Lacke

finisher

This quote says it all. There’s a lot that can happen during the 13-17 hours you spend on the Ironman course. Just like in training, you’ll experience low points that leave you questioning your decision to sign up for this thing as well as adrenaline-filled highs that remind you exactly why you did. The roller coaster ride of emotions reaches it’s apex in that 200 meter finish line chute, the end of which immediately leaves you craving more and asking yourself what now?

To wrap things up (for this season), I’ll lay out my highlights from each leg of IMAZ as well as my plans moving forward to answer that “what now” question.

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Ironman Arizona: Conquered!

A quick look at Adam and Cecily’s race results

Nov. 17, 2013: the day of our first Ironman triathlon, and one we’ll never forget.

We had a ton of support leading up to this race, in addition to a rowdy cheering section throughout the day. Thank you everyone, for everything!

We’re both feeling great – super sore and sleep deprived – but great.

Stay tuned for a detailed race report and analysis.

For now, here’s a brief summary of how we did.

Adam’s Ironman Arizona 2013 race stats

Adam Fuller, You are an Ironman!

Swim: 01:24:42
Bike: 06:25:45
Run: 05:25:29

Overall time 13:30:18

OVERALL RANK: 1623
DIV RANK: 153
GENDER RANK: 1269

Cecily’s Ironman Arizona 2013 race stats

Cecily Fuller, You are an Ironman!

Swim: 01:36:19
Bike: 07:31:19
Run: 06:21:08

Overall: 15:47:00

OVERALL RANK: 2319
DIV RANK: 48
GENDER RANK: 599

- Live every day -

Adam and Cecily

AF race strategy: Ironman instructions

Stop worrying. Here’s what you need to do to conquer Ironman Arizona

Alarm clock

Dear Future Adam,

Good morning. If you’re reading this, it’s early on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013

The sun won’t rise for a few hours but your mind and nerves are already racing.

The dark windows, beeping alarm and creaky floorboards sing in a familiar harmony as you stumble out of bed for the start of a big day.

It’s OK. Take a deep breath, hold it for a couple seconds and close your eyes. Now, exhale slowly and calmly, and open your eyes.

There. Much, better.

Look to your right on the dresser: your clothes and shoes are laid out on the dresser and everything is in its place, packed and ready to go.

See? Business as usual.

Alright, now here comes a curve ball: after you turn on the lights, you’ll lean against the wall waiting for your eyes to adjust and feel a pang of anxiety that’s not so familiar. You’ll remember why today is different.

Today, you become an Ironman.

Probably didn’t get much sleep last night, did you?

I’m guessing you had nightmares about getting lost on the course, took multiple trips to the bathroom and spent a few wired hours lying in bed staring at the ceiling, desperately trying to slow down your heart rate.

That’s OK. Excitement is good, and most of the 2,800 other athletes are in the same boat.

Well now you’re awake, and it’s go time.

With all the adrenaline coursing through your veins this morning, it’ll be easy to get worked up, stressed out, and stray from the course that got you this far.

So take this letter as a reminder that you are very great – although you can be an idiot at times – and read the following instructions to stay on track, calm and in control during the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile ride and 26.2-mile run:

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