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  • Autumn Plourd

Ironman Arizona: Where do I start!?

Updated: Mar 2, 2019

Starting something new is hard and without a clear plan in place, it's pretty easy to get anxious and borderline depressed. This is the funk I've been in the last month after completing a 4-month half Ironman training that followed 3-months training for a marathon, 2-months for the half marathon, 1-month for the 5k, and 9 months of being pregnant (and that was planned too). I’ve spent the last two years not having to think about my workout schedule because I had it all planned out. It started with a baby and ended with an Ironman.


Cheering for Brandon, Brent, Greg, Bari, & Lauren at the 2016 IMAZ. Crosley 2 years old, Blythe hiding under my sweatshirt...

God crafted the 9-months pregnant and it was nothing short of miraculous (although I could have done without weeks 11-16 and that bonus week 41). My best running pal Gisele Schaaf wrote a 5k plan and while I created my own half and full marathon schedules, she looked them over with her expertise and acted as coach whenever I was injured or just plain burned out.



I didn't know how to train for a Half Ironman, so I googled “short half Ironman training” which led me to a 14-week schedule titled Half-Ironman Training for the Time-Constrained Athlete. Perfect! Put that one in motion and achieved my goal. Sorta. I missed my race goal by 21 minutes and bared through over 40 miles of pain on the bike. Plus I completely winged the nutrition and never once practiced a swim to bike transition. And we know how that went


With all that behind me and nothing but a race date penciled in November, I felt lost about how to train for a full Ironman. I googled for free stuff and yes, there's a 14-week Ironman Training for the Time-Constrained Athlete, but my intuition is telling me to look away. I definitely can’t wing the nutrition this time and after a NINETEEN minute T1, and powering through that awful bike ride, there’s just no way I can complete 140.6 miles without some serious strength training and a meaty, well-thought out plan.


In the midst of my funk, Bari “Ironbear” Smith shows up and proved once again that she’s the reigning gift-giving queen. Not once have I received a gift from her that didn’t make me smile, feel well known and completely loved. Among other things, she gifted me an Ironman book. Be Iron Fit: Time-Efficient Training Secrets for Ultimate Fitness to be exact and it has changed my world on endurance training. Side note: there's a half Ironman version too and I can only imagine it's just as good.


I've read this book cover-to-cover and I'm back to feeling confident about my future. I’m convinced I’ll be implementing its 30-week training plan, which will start late April, and in the meantime I can focus on building core-strength with a semiweekly strength training circuit while building speed on my bike trainer. I’ll keep running to maintain the half-marathon distance and simply because it keeps me sane.


Feels good to have a plan again! Like I can breathe and use my time on more productive things like coloring in the new 365 Days of Art book. Also from Bari.



But in addition to these scheduled workout plans, I have several races scribbled in my calendar and they’re so much more fun when friends do them too. So get off your rear and race with me!


Don't think you can do it? Well your wrong because you can! If you want some help getting started, text me. And if you want to be fast, you can always hook up with Gisele for a personally curated plan! Keep reading for my personal take on the events I'm planning to race this year.


Imperial Valley Velo Club Yuha Desert Ride Against Cancer February 2, 2019, 7am @ Debbie Pittman Softball Park, El Centro: You choose how far to ride, 13, 20, 46, or 70 miles and enjoy the benefits of a fun group ride while supporting a good cause. I’m aiming for the 70 mile distance but with the long holiday break I took combined with consuming an ungodly amount of candy...46 is starting to look attractive.


Carrot Festival 5k February 9, 2019, 7:30am @ the Holtville Chamber: If I’ve got nothing going on this day, I’m hoping to squeeze this grate race in (see what I did there). Fun Fact: last year I got first place!


Posing with Gibi before winning this race in 2018!

Blue Angel 10k February 23, 2019, TBD @ Sunbeam Lake, El Centro Assuming I’m in town, I hope to run this awesome 10k where the Blue Angels practice their airshow right over your head! True story: I almost fell one year when an F/A-18 Hornet buzzed me. So scary, so loud! The guy behind me almost fell too…from laughing.


Bonus points if I stand on a podium!! It's not likely though since this is a well attended event with several well fit Navy men racing. Also, there's a pretty cool kid-friendly fair held at the finish line with music, free carnivals, and a few food vendors.


This kind of motivation from Crosley lasts for miles! First place Blue Angel Half Marathon 2018

CASA’s Sunny 5k October 2019, TBD, Imperial I race this 5k every year and last year it raised over $8,400 for Court Appointed Special Advocates for children! Winning! This one’s well attended and that makes it more fun plus they have great volunteers and cheerleaders at the finish line. I’ve gotten second and third place the last two years and I’d really like to get first but this year, I’ll treat it like a fun run since going fast isn’t the focus of my Ironman training.


Third place in 2017 when Cros was almost 2 years old (and Blythe spitting up somewhere not pictured at just 3 months)

A tight second place at the 2018 Sunny 5k

Cattle Call 5k November 9th, 2019, TBD, Brawley The past two years I’ve gotten first and second! Again, not trying to win this one, just love this event. It’s seriously the coolest course in the Imperial Valley because it’s literally up and back so you can’t get lost and it’s super stroller friendly too! Added bonus, the streets are lined with early birds waiting for the Cattle Call Parade to start, so you get constant motivation from the strangers cheering from start to finish! When you're done, eat some kettle corn and feel good for the rest of the day because you earned it.


Crosley's first 5k! I didn't know at the time, but I was already pregnant with Blythe.



Honey 5k November 16th, 8:00am, City Hall, Westmorland Hands down my favorite 5k. Surely you've heard me rave about this event and you can expect that I'll be writing about it even more as it gets closer! Brandon and I put this one on and there’s not a race in the valley with better bang for your buck! A sweet T-shirt designed by Brandon, a FULL bear of honey and trophies for the fastest?? RUN THIS!



Ironman Arizona November 24, 2019, Tempe, AZ I’m already nervous! 30 weeks of training all leading to one day!? The pressure is on!



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