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Why Do 70.3 Ironman Lubbock Triathlon? 🏆

Here is a conversation that I hear all the time about 70.3 Ironman Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon in Lubbock, TX.

Athlete: When is your next race?

Me: In 1.5 weeks. 70.3 IM in Lubbock.

Athlete: OH MY GOD. You are doing Lubbock?

Me: Yeah. Why not? It’s a great race.

Athlete: It’s hot. It’s hilly. It’s Lubbock.

Me: Oh, have you done that one?

Athlete: No that is what I have heard

Me: So, you have never done Lubbock but you are listening to someone else fears about the course?

In 2001, I wanted to do an Ironman 70.3 and back then, it wasn’t event called Ironman 70.3!  I saw one in Texas. Signed up for it!  Yes, it was Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon. I had NO IDEA of what I was getting into and honestly didn’t know how challenging the course really was. But, I knew I wanted to do a half Ironman before my full Ironman (IM-WI in September 2002).  I chatted with my coach at the time and we discussed things about Lubbock:

What I knew about Ironman 70.3 in Lubbock:

  • It was hot. I heard stories about the temperatures were SO HOT, which your feet stuck to the road on the run.
  • It was hilly on the bike and the run.
  • There was an Energy Lab II, just like Kona. SWEET!
  • Texas Tech University is up there.
  • Buddy Holly was from there or his museum?
  • There are gophers hanging out in the fields. They are so stinking cute, while I know the farmers don’t like them.

I signed up anyway.

2017 Ironman 70.3 Lubbock

What I did to get ready for my 1st Ironman 70.3 Triathlon in Lubbock:

  • I trained.
  • I worked.
  • I try to hang with my friends but I had training to do!
  • I read everything I could via magazines, books, etc. I went to Border’s to buy more books and magazines.  Smart phones were really not around then. Internet was around but I couldn’t afford a computer. I just bought my new bike, Principia.
  • I probably bugged my coach WAY more than I paid her for :) Thanks Shelly and I am sorry!

What I didn’t know about my 1st Ironman 70.3 Triathlon in Lubbock:

  • No clue about nutrition. Gatorade and water will work just fine.  I will a Power Bar too.
  • No clue about salt tablets or amino acids.
  • Two-piece bikini should be fine for the swim, bike and run. That’s what Paula Newby Frasier did in Hawaii.
  • Let’s put sunscreen on before my swim. I was FRIED!
  • I bought a sleeveless wetsuit at the Expo and used it.
  • Forgot my water bottles and Gatorade in the hotel race morning.
  • It was hilly. It was windy. It was hot.

What I LOVE NOW about Ironman 70.3 Lubbock:

  • It is a challenging course. It really is but what Ironman 70.3 Triathlon shouldn’t be challenging?
  • It will test your limits as an athlete and tell me this, “How Bad Do You Want It?”
  • Generally, your first Ironman 70.3 or Ironman Triathlon will always be your favorite
  • It was the BEST feeling in the world to cross that finish line. Once you start hating crossing the finish line to a race, it is time to look for a new sport. Just my two cents!
  • When Chris and I were starting to get to know each other, I received a “Top 10 Reasons Why I Need to Drive to Lubbock with him in 2003.” This year at Lubbock will be our 15 year anniversary starting our relationship. #awwwwww
  • The swim will generally be wetsuit legal. Mike Greer is good like that!
  • The bike still has a SHIT TON of hills but this can make or break an athlete ON THE RUN!
  • The run course has changed over the years and I really do miss the “Energy Lab II,” where it is a lot like Hawaii. You see the stem coming off the road and the sound of power over your head.
  • The finish line is fun, jump in the lake to cool off, get an IV if you need it or if you want beer, you can have that instead!
  • The Finisher Party that night is a blast and you can catch up with your friends and tell war stories about race day.

Last but not least…

  • Mike and Marti Greer are some of the nicest people/race directors, I have ever met.

Here are my times from Ironman 70.3 Lubbock: 

2013 Ironman 70.3 Lubbock

  • 2001 – 6:32:30
  • 2003 – 6:20:01 (Flat on my bike with clincher tires!)
  • 2005 – 5:41:21
  • 2007 – 5:42:44
  • 2013 – 5:38:59
  • 2015 – 5:22:47
  • 2017 – 5:11:45

Amazing how much improvement, I saw over the years. Like I said in my FaceBook Live “Life Lessons of an Athlete,” two weeks ago, “Being An Athlete Doesn’t Happen OverNight!”

Yes, I will keep going back to Lubbock….

 

 

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Life Lessons of an Athlete – June 13th

Here is the second week of  “Life Lesson of an Athlete” as we chat about “Respecting the Distance” and I am not just talking about the 140.6 miles or a 5k. I am talking about life…

Interested in my “Life Lessons” Book? Grab it from Amazon today!

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Top 5 Tips About Instagram 💙

As a triathlete, a triathlon coach and a business owner, I have to admit, I have a lot of fun on social media, as I have seen it really taken off over the last few years with my business. I have been on a lot of social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Medium, etc.

The one social media platform that I have to say that I am addicted to is Instagram. Honestly, I don’t even want to know how much time I spend on that platform but to be honest, it has been a very successful platform, not only for me as an athlete but for getting athletes to coach ranging from California, up to Canada, down to Mexico and over to Sweden!

People started following my triathlon journey. From Ironman Florida in 2013, after an 8 year sabbatical to 2015 of my hashtag #kona2015 (insert eye roll) to placing in my age group at Ironman FL in 2016 to qualifying to the Ironman World Championship at Ironman Mont Tremblant in 2017. It was truly epic!

I started on Instagram, January 2012 and then after I graduated from my Masters at UTSA, I really started posting in May 2012. Funny thing is now, I look back at my photos then and think, “Oh my word. I need to delete some of those. Terrible photos. Too many words! I love my cat but she isn’t about my brand.”

I started thinking about it, as I know Instagram has been one of the top social media platform the last couple of years. Did you know that there are over 800 millions people on Instagram and that was stated on December 2017!!!

So, I came up with “Top 5 Tips on Why I LOVE Instagram.” This may help you as an athlete, a coach, a business owner or brick and mortar shop or every day Instagramer!!!

1.Instagram is all about THE photo

  • Quality. Quality. Quality Photo. I will say this until I am blue in the face. I looked at some of my old photos and thought…AWFUL!
  • Have photos that are inlined with your business (if this is a business account). While your dog ROCKS, it is not part of your business.
  • If you need to get some professional photos done, do it. Are you a coach? Get someone to come out and take photos of you on the deck or the track. Are you a consultant? Have people take photos in your office or the coffee shop.

2. Write a Caption or a Story BUT…

  • Please explain what the photo is all about but don’t write “War and Peace” again.
  • If you do want to share a story, learn how to break it up, so it is much easier to read.
  • For example: If my post is a little long because of the story, I will break it up with spacing and periods, as this will cut the story short and if they want to read more, they can.
  • Check out these examples. See how there is “more” to click on there, so if you want to read “more,” you can. Click the photo for Rulon Racing Instagram Page! And, I will be chatting about Stretch Wash in the next month too! See in my CoachJenRulon account, you will see the periods in between a longer post.

 

3. Hashtag. Hashtag. Hashtag!

  • Make sure 7 out of 10 hashtags are related to your business. For example, I will use #RulonRacing #RulonRacers
  • Idea amount of hashtags? You can go up to 30 but I have started seeing 11 is the magic number!
  • Find out what hashtags work with your business and your brand, but also find out which ones do not. For example, I saw #rulonracing2k18 was “hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines.” 🤔

4. Utilize that location on your post!

  • Did you know that 79% of post get more engagement with a Geotag than those that don’t.
  • That is all…do it!

5. Keep It Real!

  • People want to follow you because of your raw and realness about things. They don’t want things to be fake.
  • People follow you because maybe you are an amazing photographer, you show people how hard work pays off or you are a BADASS Mom crushing a YouTube channel in the midst of your crazy kids.
  • Raw and Real is the way to go. If you truly don’t feel comfortable sharing your story, it is ok!  Please, please don’t hide behind the camera and tell the world that everything is peachy keen, when maybe it isn’t. Guess what. It is OK to NOT post!

I wrote an article about “The Love/Hate Relationship of Social Media” in the beginning of the year and it really showcases how social media is good for a lot of things but can also mask a lot of things in everyday life.

Are you on Instagram? Do you have tips or tricks for people on Instagram? Share below your username and your tip! Let’s follow each other!

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Life Lessons of an Athlete – Week of June 4th

Here is the first “Life Lessons of an Athlete” Summer Series. Where we chatted about “Understand that Training/Life Take Work.”

Interested in my “Life Lessons” Book? Grab it from Amazon today!

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How To Improve Sleep 😴

The Importance of Prioritizing Sleep

As a motivated, goal-oriented individual, your day-to-day life is probably pretty busy. Maybe you are trying to juggle a full-time job and a family while also working toward your personal, professional, and fitness goals. With all of this going on at once, it might be easy to neglect one of the most important components of your health: SLEEP!

Sleep, like saving money or training for a race, is additive. That means consistently getting enough sleep every night will benefit your health and training in the long-run. On the flip side, sleep deprivation may not only degrade your performance but also increase your risk for health complications such as cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and even cancer, among others (Costa, 2015). Here are some specific ways in which prioritizing your sleep will positively impact all other aspects of your life:

Mental Health and Function

Your brain is amazingly complex and consumes a massive amount of energy each day. Like any high-functioning machine, it needs regular maintenance. Sleep has been shown to clear toxins and metabolites from the adult brain which build up during the day. This not only helps your brain to function better, it also may reduce the long-term risk of Alzheimer’s Disease (Xie et al., 2013).

There is also evidence that while the negative effects of sleep deprivation on attention and alertness can be reversed, albeit temporarily, by the use of stimulants such as caffeine, higher cognitive functions such as perception, memory, and decision remain degraded (Grundgeiger et al., 2014; Joo et al., 2012). Sleep deprivation is also linked to symptoms of anxiety and depression (Luik et al., 2015). This is all to say, if you want to be make better decisions and be smarter and happier, be sure to get more high-quality sleep!

Physical Health

As with your brain, sleep profoundly impacts almost all of the other organs and tissues in your body. For example, sleep deprivation has been implicated as one of the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the most significant cause of adult mortality worldwide (Jackson et al., 2015). Moreover, a greater amount and higher quality of sleep supports increased immune function, blood sugar regulation, and insulin sensitivity (Irwin, 2015; Reutrakul and Van Cauter, 2014).

If you’re trying to put on strength and muscle, sleep can help with that too. Increased sleep has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength in a variety of different demographics (Auyeung et al., 2015; Buchmann et al., 2016). After all, you don’t build muscle in the gym; your muscles grow when you allow them to rest and repair after your workouts.

Athletic Performance

All elite athletes know how relevant sleep is to optimizing their performance. Though this might be a no-brainer at this point, sleep deprivation is strongly correlated to decreased athletic performance, and vice versa (Fullagar et al., 2015; Thun et al., 2015).

One interesting study conducted in 2013 on runners in the North-Face Ultra-trail du Mont-Blanc, an Extreme Mountain Ultra Marathon, revealed that drowsiness was associated with slower race times. Moreover, those who adopted a sleep management strategy before the race based on increased sleep time completed race significantly faster than those who did not (Poussel et al., 2015).

How to Improve Your Sleep

So, what are some actionable steps you can take to improve your sleep? The first and most obvious is to simply get more of it, ideally 8 but no fewer than 7 hours (Axelsson and Vyazovskiy, 2015). If you are finding that difficult to achieve, here are some tips to increase the quality of your sleep:

  •    Refrain from using your smartphone or other electronics before bed. Several studies have linked exposure to blue-light from personal electronics to disrupted sleep cycles (Chellappa et al., 2013). If you absolutely need to use your computer or smartphone at night, most modern devices have a “night-shift” or nighttime mode which warms the color temperature of your screen to eliminate blue-light.
  •    Avoid caffeine before bed. Caffeine has been shown to remain active in adult humans for up to 6 hours or more (Drake et al., 2013). Ideally, limit coffee/caffeine consumption to the morning hours to ensure a good night’s rest.
  •    Limit alcohol consumption before bed. Though alcohol does have some somnogenic (sleep-inducing) properties, it has been shown to disrupt sleep during the second half of the night, leading to fewer hours of the deep, restorative sleep your brain and body need (Thakkar et al., 2015).
  •    Take a warm shower before bed. As you prepare to fall asleep, your core body temperature drops slightly. Taking a warm shower and drying off before bed may simulate a drop in body temperature, helping your body to relax and prepare for sleep (Liao et al., 2013).
  •    Develop a bedtime routine. Whether it’s listening to classical music or reading a book (but remember, no electronics or blue light!), studies on the psychology of habits show that a trigger behavior (bedtime routine), repeated in a constant context (bedroom in the evening), associated with a positive outcome (high-quality sleep) is the key to healthy habit formation (Judah et al., 2013).

In Conclusion

Whether you are training for a race or just want to become healthier all-around, getting enough high-quality sleep should be one of your top priorities. Make sure that you’re getting at least 7 hours a night and that you aren’t sabotaging your sleep by staring into your phone screen or drinking caffeine or alcohol before bed. Consistently getting a better night’s rest will boost performance in all other aspects of your life!

(Interested in those References? Click HERE to check them out!)

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