A year before her first Ironman triathlon, Cecily answers FAQ

Update: read Cecily’s recap from Ironman Arizona


Q1: This’ll be your first Ironman. Are you worried, excited, in shock, all of the above?
In shock? Yes. This is something we’ve been talking about doing for about 6 months, and now that we’re signed up it is very, very real. It’s not like signing up for a 5k race, or buying plane tickets for an awesome trip. The simple, and ironically anticlimactic process of registering was something that immediately re-prioritized everything in my life for the next year.
Worried? I’m scared of Zombie Ironman! (Just kidding, inside joke). This is a tough question. What worries me the most? Honestly, I’m really not worried! Yes, it’s going to suck at times and I am 100 percent positive that I will have some low moments in training (and in the race, for that matter). I think just knowing that and being prepared for those moments will be half the battle. 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. It will be because I got five flat tires, or broke my pinkie toe. 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.
Excited? Word.

Q2: Tell us about your fitness background. How many triathlons have you done already?
I did my first triathlon – the Triathlon at Pacific Grove – about a year ago. I’ve been doing CrossFit for the past three years and have been involved in sports, on and off, for my entire life. Fitness and health (emotional and physical) are a huge part of my life. I’m studying to be a physical therapist and exercise at least five days a week and I’m in the best shape of my life…so far!

Q3: Which sport is your strongest and which needs the most work?
Running is, without a doubt, my strongest. That’s not to say I’m some great runner, but I still have much to learn about swimming and cycling. The more I do learn, though, the more I enjoy each sport. Where I feel most vulnerable with cycling is knowing what to do when something goes wrong (e.g. changing a flat tire, fixing the chain, etc.) Interesting how closely in line that is with my driving skills :-) At the start of my triathlon efforts, swimming was certainly the sport which I had the most room for improvement. I remember my first day in the lap pool. I couldn’t even swim 25 yards without hyperventilating. The fact that I’m not terrified of a mile swim today is motivating in itself.

Q4: What are your goals for the race?
To win. Just kidding. Honestly, just crossing the finish line will be enough of an accomplishment for me. My only time goals are to beat the cut-off times for each leg and make it to the finish line by midnight. I really want to keep a positive attitude and enjoy the entire experience, from start to finish.

Q5: Who, or what, inspires you?
First and foremost, we’re doing this all in honor of my aunt Leslie. Her 19-year battle with stage IV breast cancer gave everyone who knew her motivation to be happy, grateful and fearless. My first-ever endurance race (the Surf City Half Marathon) was in her memory, just four days after she lost her hard-fought battle. Since then, she’s been right at my side through each of my races, reminding me to live every day and enjoy the ride (pun intended). I am such a lucky girl to have so many inspiring people in my life and could go on and list probably 50 others here. For now, though, I’ll limit it to four more:

  • “My Marine brother,” Elliot, who has permanently outdone all of us Fuller kids by becoming a Marine. His work ethic is pretty unbelievable and he has pushed our entire family to live more active, healthy lives. We’ll get him to do a race with us one of these days…
  • “The other brother,” Adam. Just kidding! My awesome training partner who gets my ass out of bed at 5 a.m. to swim every Tuesday and Friday. If only he would share his magical swimming DVDs with me so I could learn the secrets…
  • My mom, who is training for her first half marathon, can do strict pull-ups like it’s her job, and deadlifts and bench presses more than I do. She has also successfully raised three annoying kids to be relatively normal contributors to society and is our number one supporter :-)
  • Rosie, who has dedicated her 3-year life to catching that damn imaginary lizard under the rock in the backyard. We can all learn a little something from her unyielding perseverance.

Q6: Imagine it’s November 16, 2013 – the night before IronmanAZ. If you could send your future self a note would it say?
2012 me: “Enjoy the ride…don’t forget your shoes.”
2013 me: “Great Scott! This is heavy!”

Q7: Enough about Ironman. What do you do when you’re not training?
I spend a couple days/week working as a physical therapy tech and also work part-time at a local CrossFit gym. I recently started volunteering twice/week with a nonprofit CrossFit kids program that provides free exercise/nutrition resources and education to local kids in need. The rest of my days are typically spent camped out at local coffee shops, loading up on more caffeine than is probably good for me and powering through anatomy homework.
When I’m not training, working, or studying, I’m a Buck Hunter, Breaking Bad and Law & Order enthusiast. I love hiking in the beautiful Phoenix weather, experimenting in the kitchen with new paleo recipes and, of course, enjoying a good brew with good friends.