Rick’s Ironman Journey Story

Ironman Arizona Swim Morning Project BinkThe Ironman is actually a big metaphor for life. In my opinion at least. From the time we decide to do something, whether it’s a goal or a task or just something we want to have completed on our bucket list, there’s this decision. There’s a choice that we make to move forward, to stay where we’re at, or to maybe even regress or go backwards. Training for a triathlon, let alone an Ironman, is one of those undertakings. Over and above the actual training and the sweat and the time and the commitment and all the things that go into it, it’s truly really symbolic and has a direct correlation to how life goes. There are ups, there are downs, sometimes we win, sometimes we lose and Ironman, or triathlon training, in general, really has the opportunity to show us what we’re made of.

I started my Ironman Training back in summer of 2013; it’s when I decided I wanted to do one of the long distance triathlons, the endurance race. I had done triathlon in the past, but Ironman was a whole new animal. So, just like in life, we face things that push us back. There are days that we wake up and we don’t want to do stuff, and it was no different. Just like life, sometimes my long training days were just long and I didn’t even want to get up out of bed because I knew that the day was just going to be awful tough… I just felt like it was going to be an awful, long, tiring day.

There are often days in regular life, I’m sure we all experience, where we don’t want to get out of bed. We see a post on Facebook or Twitter or wherever about how we just want to curl up with our warm blankets and stay in bed. The day doesn’t look nice, but for whatever reason some folks choose to get up and charge into the day and some folks don’t. There were days that I didn’t want to go out and train. There were days where I was just too sore, or I was feeling a bit broken from training the prior day. But we get up and do it anyway.

One of my coolest moments in my training I recall, was as the year progressed and I was actually on the starting line of IronMan Lake Tahoe in the fall of 2014… and this is what happened: I’m at the starting line, I had been preparing for a year for this race, this was the target date. We actually got into the water to warm up the morning of. I had friends there. It was a beautiful day. Lake Tahoe was cold, but the water was crystal clear, you could put your head under water and you could see just as far as far can go. There was just no cloudiness, no murkiness it was just crystal clear…it was gorgeous. There were several thousand triathletes there that prepared a long time, some had traveled a long distance, from all over the world. There were professionals there because there was a prize purse for the pros. As the clock ticks down and we get closer to start time everybody gets out of the water and we get into the start corrals. Then out of nowhere, right around start time, the announcer who’s on a podium raised up about 8 feet off the ground overlooking the lake and the whole scenery, gets on the loudspeaker and just announces that the race was cancelled. Then he went on to say that the fires in Northern California (and there were a lot of fires!) were just blowing too much smoke into the Tahoe Valley where the race was and it had been deemed by California Air Quality Commission, or some governing body, unsafe for human consumption.Ironman Arizona Finisher Project Bink

So the race was cancelled, not just the swim, the entire race. There was a palpable collapse in the air. Not like a balloon popping, but rather like a big hole in a balloon where the air just rushes out, (whoosh!!) and everybody felt it including myself. The interesting thing is that there was then a whole bunch of emotion and then reaction, including in myself. There was disappointment, there was sadness, there was disbelief, all kinds of things, but what I saw next was the most interesting thing. This isn’t to say anything bad about fellow athletes, but this is really just to talk about how humans react to stuff and how it really applies to something as simple or as grand as training for a race. You see, because, within maybe 30 seconds a gentleman walks up to the podium. He wasn’t an athlete, he was probably the husband of an athlete and he started yelling, just very irately. He made Jon McEnroe look like child’s play, yelling at the announcer and a lot of expletives and curse words about how they’d destroyed several people’s hopes and dreams and who are they to cancel the race and it’s not their decision. And it just went on and on and on. It was at that moment that I decided I had a choice. I could either be just like him and be angry and let that emotion ruin my day…or I could choose to be happy that I was alive, that I would live to race another day.

The thing is we get a choice, whether it’s in training or the day of the race, we have a choice on this journey, not only of racing but of life. Where we get to let the day bring us down and rule us, or we get to make a conscious decision to rule the day. I decided to rule the day. The mantra I lifted over my head as a smile just crept over my face and suddenly lit up my wife’s face and my friends’ faces was, “Guys, we get to go party a little bit sooner than we anticipated, so let’s go party!” That was really the beginning of my Iron Man journey. It was a huge disappointment; a huge let down there’s no doubt about it. But I’ve got to ask myself this question when I reflect back: was it really? Was it really a huge disappointment and let down? Was it really all that, or was it just one of the experiences in life, in training, in racing that we get this glorious opportunity to experience? On this Ironman journey.

It’s something to consider for you, as you move down this path of triathlon or consider racing or doing a triathlon, or just waking up each day and wondering: is the day going to rule me, or am I going to rule my day? That’s really all I’ve got to say. Thanks a lot.

~Rick Martinez  |  BINKologist | W:


Coach Jen Rink Martinez Binkologist Ironman Athlete

Side note from Coach Jen:

Rick and I met in 2010, when I worked at lululemon athletica and he was owner of one of the top CrossFit Box in San Antonio. We develop a relationship over the last years and stayed in contact as I moved on from lululemon to start my business and as he moved on from his CrossFit box and started Project Bink. Check out his story with Project Bink HERE.  (FYI, I was at that weight lifting competition as an athlete).

Rick reached out to me for coaching and I coached him to Ironman – Lake Tahoe. I mean, Ironman Arizona. I remember getting that text from him telling me that Ironman Lake Tahoe was canceled and my heart dropped for him and all the other 2000+ athletes. 

I value my friendship with Rick Martinez. He has a heart of gold. Would do anything for you and tells you how it is. I pick his brain for entrepreneurship tips and I got him to his Ironman. I say that is a “Win/Win.” Thank you Rick for allowing me to be a part of your tribe!

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Generation UCAN Triathletes

How do I take Generation UCAN?

Generation UCAN TriathleteA lot of athletes are asking me about Generation UCAN. So, here is the DL of my story with UCAN and triathlon training. It is time to get real my friends…

UCAN has been my saving grace for triathlons and my running. Since I got back to IM training, over 2 years ago, I was having a lot of GI issues. Stopping around 45-60 minutes into my run, at a bathroom, in the woods, etc. If I took a gel, I was stopping within 20 minutes. It was awful. I felt that the gels were going right through me and I had no energy left. I would come home from a run, so FRUSTRATED, that I was crying.

About 6 weeks out from Ironman Florida in 2013, I started to take in UCAN. I had no option. And it was the best thing that I have ever done!

Generation UCAN is a SuperStarch/Complex CHO, which releases steadily into the body and keeps the blood sugar stable. With gels and chomps, they are “sugar” spikes… you are required to take in every 30-45 minutes. So, your “energy” goes low, you take another gel. You get so much sugar/maltodextrin into your gut, in a 3-5 hour workout… it pretty much needs to get out. Make sense?

So how do I take Generation UCAN?

If I am heading out for less than a 2 hour run… I will take a Chocolate Protein pack and that is all I need for the whole run. No gels, no GUs, etc. I feel fantastic. As far as over 2:00 run, I will take a flask with me and have a concentrated UCAN with me and find some water to wash it down.

If I am heading out for a 3-4 hour bike, I will still take my Chocolate Protein about 30 minutes before hand but within 1:00-1:15 on the bike, I take in scoop of Plain UCAN with a Nuun tablet. I will use a scoop every hour on the hour for the rest of the bike. I have also added X2Performance to my UCAN mix. This helps with a little bit of caffeine and adding some glucose to the mix, which is what you need with the UCAN.

With UCAN, you actually need to take it in earlier than you think! If you are starting to feel “low” on energy, it may be a bit too late. You would be inclined to take a banana or a gel and there goes the tummy issues again!

As far as my GI issues… the last 1 1/2 years, I have had no GI issues on my longer runs.

I am so happy to have found this! If you are interested in trying it out, use this link and you will get a discount!

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Ironman Triathlon Story

Annie’s Ironman Journey Story

Triathlon has become one of my greatest passions in life and Jen Rulon has helped me to be a  stronger, smarter athlete!Girls training for Ironman!

I am not a “natural” athlete by any means. As a kid, I rode my bike and swam all summer long, but never really played organized sports. Before I started doing triathlons, I identified as a runner who also enjoyed cycling, but I didn’t even start that until my mid-30’s. I completed my first half marathon in 2011 and the experience of the feeling of synchronicity with so many other runners forever changed me.

I got pregnant in 2012 and ran through my 36th week — even if it was more of a shuffle by that point! During my pregnancy, I decided that after my daughter was born, I wanted to push myself further, but I didn’t necessarily want to run more miles, so triathlon seemed like the answer. I found myself watching videos on Youtube videos of adrenaline pumping Ironman starts and emotional finishes. Ironman was out of the question at that point, but I decided to sign up for two sprint distance and two Olympic distance triathlons, which would force me to get back into shape.

Zoe was 3 1/2 months old when I completed that first sprint, a fairly amateur race, but a HUGE learning experience for me. Over the course of the next three tri’s (and two half marathons) that I did that summer, I realized that I loved triathlon and that a Half Ironman was most definitely in my future. However, I didn’t think a one-size-fits-all training plan would work for me — I had a great base (already easily able to run 13.1 miles) and was a full-time Mom (needed a fair amount of flexibility in my training regimen). So at the suggestion of a triathlete friend (one of the very few I had at that point) and my incredibly supportive husband, I sought out a coach.Kerrville Sprint Triathlon

When I began my search, I didn’t know what qualities would be important to me in a coach, but from the first time I spoke to Jen on the phone and I learned more about her belief in the importance of strength training for triathletes and the dangers of over-training, as well as her personal quest to qualify for Kona, I knew she was the coach for me!

I began working with Jen in the “off” season and her coaching helped prepare me for Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston in April 2014, Kerrville Triathlon Festival Sprint in September 2014 and Ironman 70.3 Longhorn in Austin in October 2014. All races were successful for me, although there is always something to be learned from and improved upon in every race.

The thing that I love most about about having a coach is having the guess work taken out of my training. Before I started working with Jen, I found myself losing sleep at night about whether I had adequately trained for a race, but now I sleep better and my rest days are a lot more restful. :)

I am now registered for Ironman Coeur D’Alene in June 2015, two weeks after my 40th birthday.

In addition to the personal relationship I feel I’ve developed with Jen over the past year, I can’t say enough about her qualities as a coach. I adore her for her positivity, her love for the sport of triathlon, dedication to herself and her athletes AND for her infectious smile and crazy megaphone cheering me on during the longest/shortest day of my life. :)Coach Jen Rulon and Athlete Annie at Time Trial in Texas

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What is YOUR Ironman Triathlon Journey?

Last Wednesday, February 11th, I went trail running with the pup on “Wunning Wednesday.” Rolled my ankle on a “branch.” Heard a pop…I figured it was the branch. I looked again…it was a root. Roots don’t move. I ran 10 minutes more. Looked down and saw a hematoma. Opted to run/walk home.  Called Dr. Marque Allen (foot doc in SAT). He got me in for an X-ray and MRI. For you doctors and people obsessed with the body like I am, I have a 3rd Degree (complete) tear on ATF ligament and 2nd Degree tear (partial) on CF ligament.  See diagram below:ankle-ligaments-deltoid-on-healthfavo


Dr. Allen sat down with me and said for this with this type of tear; recovery time is up to 12 weeks. Yes, IM-TX is 13 weeks.

I called Chris, cried a bit and he said, ”You always have the option to transfer to another North America race that’s open.” Not a bad option actually but I didn’t want to make a decision right after it happened. I wanted to think and pray about “My Ironman Journey.”

As I was reflecting over the week and figuring out what I wanted to do on my journey, I started thinking about all the athletes out there on their own “Ironman Journey.”

Here are some statistics for you:

  • 39 Ironman Triathlons (US, Europe, Asia-Pacific) and growing
  • 78 – 70.3 Ironman Triathlons (US, Europe, Asia-Pacific) and growing
  • Approximately 2,000 + per Ironman Race
  • Approximately 1,500 + per 70.3 Ironman Race
  • 2000 people x 39 Ironman Races = approx. 58,000 athletes per year for their “Ironman Journey”
  • 1500 people x 78 = approx. 117,000 athletes per year for their “Ironman Journey”

WOW! That is a lot of athletes on THEIR Ironman Journey! I started thinking, “Why do people do Ironman Triathlons? What is their purpose of doing one?”

  • To finish?
  • To qualify for Kona?
  • To accomplish a specific goal?
  • To get a M-Dot tattoo?
  • For their loved one that is going through a hard time
  • For Charity
  • Life style change…possibly recovering drug addict and needs a way to “utilize” their addiction. (I have heard of many doing this.)
  • To lose weight?

We ALL have a story heading into our Ironman Journey. I have been blessed, as a coach, to help some of those athletes, make their Ironman or 70.3 Ironman journey.

It’s been a week since my ankle injury. What did I decided to do?

I have changed my Ironman Texas spot to Ironman Mont-Tremblant in Canada. Here is the thing: I didn’t want to do IM-TX, just to do another Ironman. Been there. Done that. My goal for Ironman is to get to Kona but that has always been my goal.

I realized this is “My Ironman Journey.” Will I get there? I know I will but there may be some sprains, pains and frustrations along the way. But isn’t that life?

Over the next couple of weeks, I plan on putting Ironman or 70.3 Ironman stories on my blog from athletes that I have coach, to my own, and to YOU! If you are interested in writing YOUR IRONMAN JOURNEY, send it my way and I will be happy to upload it on my blog!

IM triathlon journey


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Strength Training for the HEART

It’s Valentine Weekend. Maybe you will spend it with your loved one, get a Hallmark from Mom, hang with your besties or just do absolutely nothing! I started thinking about today’s blog and the theme for Friday…Strength Training. We always think about “cardio” for the heart but how does strength training help the heart.70.3 Ironman NOLA

I went straight to my source, Goggle Scholar and Poliquin Group.  Charles Poliquin is a HUGE advocate for strength training, with so much scientific data backing his findings. And Google Scholar has a lot of PDF’s, regarding strength training but mostly for cardiac patients.

The #1 finding of strength training of the heart, is that:

“Strength Training Improves Heart Function.”

Here are a couple of findings how “Strength Training Improves Heart Function.”

I found an article on Poliquin site and he states that weight training will dramatically improve heart function, decrease blood pressure and decrease inflammation. In one review that Poliquin talked about states, “Older women who weight trained had lower C-reactive protein, an oxidative stress marker that causes an inflammatory status. The combined effect of lower SBP, less inflammation, and better blood flow will reduce cardiovascular disease risk by more than 14 percent. Click HERE for his article.

Another article, that I found was on Google Scholar, then got it through NASA, (National Strength and Conditioning Association), “Strength Training for the Heart” by Cedric Bryant and James Peterson. It talks about how cardio exercise used to be the best way for cardiac rehabilitation programs to help their patients. Over time, rehabilitation programs started adding strength training. According to the article, strength training has shown to raise HDL (good cholesterol), along with reducing the risk for a sudden heart attack and will help with decreasing musculoskeletal injuries by increasing the thickness and strength in their bones, ligaments and tendons. Click here for the portion of the article.

Not only does strength training help with the “muscles” that you normally think they help, I believe that strength training helps the biggest muscle of all… the heart!

As we are heading into Valentine’s weekend, ask yourself:

How are you taking care of your heart?

  • Physically through endurance training and/or strength training?
  • Mentally by surrounding yourself with strong, positive and good juju people, who support you 100%!
  • Spiritually, by listening to your heart, in quite time or however you take care of yourself.

Treat yourself with some LOVE this weekend. How do you do that? It starts by YOU!

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