Author Archives: Cecily

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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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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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

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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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The Plan, Stan

I’m sitting at a coffee shop at 1:00 on a Saturday afternoon, blogging a little, studying a little less and re-familiarizing myself with what Saturday feels like. This. Is. Nice.

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Funny thing, though – I’m also totally lost. I don’t know what to do with myself. Should I just go back to the gym and swim a little? As I’m sitting here thinking how I should have planned a little better for this weekend, I started to think about how much damn planning I’ve done over the last year.

There’s no question that training for an Ironman takes planning. Obviously, you’ll need to plan for smart training. But what about everything else? What about those days/weeks that you’re just not feeling well? Or what about weekends you’ll be off on a work trip? And most importantly, what about your cheat days?

Let’s take a look at all of different stages of planning that go into training for an Ironman.

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What’s Your Hurdle?

Registration

Flashback to November:

Q1: This’ll be your first Ironman. Are you worried, excited, in shock, all of the above?

Answer: “…The biggest part of training for something like this is making the commitment, waking up and showing up every day – and that’s what I’m going to do. I want to show up on November 17th knowing that I put everything I could into this thing – no regrets. So no, I’m not scared that I won’t finish, because if I don’t finish it won’t be due to something I could have changed.”

Flash forward to today:

The theme of my past eight months of training has been to put in the work, prepare for the unexpected and take all steps necessary to show up on Nov. 17 feeling ready, with butterflies in my stomach, excitement, pride, some natural anxiety, but with zero doubt.

The race is six weeks from today, and I feel great. Endurance-wise, I know I can get through this thing. Hell, if I needed to, I could get through it tomorrow. I’ve followed my training, built up the mileage, honed my confidence and already see myself as an Ironman. Like I said back in November:

“Becoming an Ironman (or an ultra runner, or a brain surgeon, or a freakin’ fairy princess) isn’t something that happens overnight. When I start the 2.4 mile swim, the transformation and achievement will already be done. Crossing that finish line will just be like walking across stage on graduation day. Work’s done – now you just have to prove it and get your medal.”

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Now is the time to continue building those last few miles, nurture that confidence, and try to find and address any of those last hurdles that might come your way. While working through a long brick workout yesterday, I found the last hurdle I need to focus on for these last six weeks in order to show up to Ironman Village next month with not a doubt in my mind that I’m ready. Ironically, it goes back to one of the first blog posts I wrote.

I need to take care of my poor, neglected muscles, tendons and joints.

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Beware of Tucan Sam

Two months out from race day. Training is ramping up exponentially by the week and I can see the light at the end of this crazy tunnel. I must be excited, right? I mean, I even posted a pump-you-up Ironman AZ video on Facebook yesterday. Facebook doesn’t lie.

Then what, you may ask, has led me to ditch training on this Wednesday night, disregard any and all weekday, paleo-centric rules I have and dive into this bowl of Froot Loops?

Froot Loops

This fruity-licious, artificial ingredient-filled dinner is a result of a week of training gone awry and the unhealthy relationship I have with my training plan.

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