Jen Rulon

Each Ironman that I do, I learn about myself. I understand how to race an Ironman Triathlon. I remember what I can accomplish not only physically but mentally. There are a lot of highs and lows in these races. But isn’t that life? I choose to learn about life through the eyes of a triathlete.

Last week, I posted my “Top 14 Life Lessons from 14 Ironman Triathlons – Part I.” Check them out. Let’s continue the topics and talk about the last 7 Learnings from doing 14 Ironman Triathlons.

8. Over 6,000 feet of climbing on the bike, Learn to Ride Hills – Ironman Mont Tremblant (2015)

  • We did a LOT Of climbing in San Antonio, and we had to. We may not have long “mountains” to climb around the area, but we found plenty of climbing to make a total of 6000 feet for most of our MAJOR rides.
  • Pick a race that you will enjoy going to. Mont Tremblant, hands down, was one of the best races I have been to. The community is forever grateful for the IM. There are more volunteers than participants.  Head back to the “7 blogs” for lesson #2.
  • Keep your Cycling Shoes on the bike coming into T2. I left mine on my feet, and I was “rushing” into the tent, and I slipped and fell SO HARD that I was afraid I wasn’t going to finish. So I had to sit into T2 for 6 minutes while they patched my leg up.
  • I didn’t have the best run split, but I still crossed that finish line and heard, “Jennifer RULON, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

9. Always prepare yourself that you will not use a wetsuit – Ironman Florida (2015)

  • First time in over 20+ years, it was NOT a wetsuit swim. People freaked out! Why? Were they not prepared? Rely too much on a wetsuit? Head to the Roka Sports tent and pick up a swim skin. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
  • Learn to pee on the bike. You should have seen the port-a-potty lines. Figure it out!
  • Watch for cars, cyclists, and other people who don’t care there is a race going on. I saw a guy pull in front of a cyclist going at least 18 mph, and the cyclist almost rammed right into the car. The car didn’t give a shit. He needed to get home. #GRRRRRR
  • I had an AMAZING race. No GI issues on the run. I ran under 4 hours for the marathon, and I crossed that finish line and heard, “Jennifer RULON, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

10. Be Careful What you Wish For – Ironman Texas (2016)

  • Third loop of the run. Bloody HOT. It’s Texas in May. What do you expect? I had a little convo with God. I asked him to help me out and take me home, as this would not be my best race. Within 5 minutes, the worst thunderstorm EVER came into The Woodlands. Rain was pelting my face. Shoes were drenched with water. I started laughing. I told the big man, I hear you. We got stopped at mile 20 (some still on their 2nd lap). It started getting cold. Started back up again after 25 minutes.
  • It’s incredible when your husband is cheering you on, and he is YOUR SHERPA. My cup runneth over. (Yeah, I will be his Sherpa in Kona!)
  • The Swim course changed on Friday morning. The bike course was only 95 miles. Run time was taken at mile 19. Everything changed this year. Control what you can control.
  • It was my 10th Ironman Triathlon. It was supposed to be epic. It was, and I still crossed that finish line and heard, “Jennifer RULON, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

11. Going Back to My Why – Ironman Florida (2016)

  • After a shit show at IMTX, I had to step away from the Ironman world. I was starting to dislike Ironman Triathlons. My Mom and I traveled to Scotland 2 weeks after IMTX. No computer. No WiFi. I need to explore, journal, and enjoy life again.
  • As I was sitting in a castle, drinking tea and eating a cookie, while my Mom was exploring (probably our 8th castle by this time), I realized I was trying to chase a Kona slot down, and I realized this was the wrong way to look at racing.
  • I went back to my Why of Ironman Triathlon Training, and I picked Ironman Florida, as it is my happy place. Ocean. Beach. Reminds me of my Grandpa.
  • It was my 11th Ironman Triathlon. It was that tipping point for me. I placed 4th in my age group, and I was on the Ironman podium, and I heard those words, “Jennifer Rulon, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

12. Dreams Do Come True but YOU MUST Work Your Ass Off! – Ironman Mont Tremblant (2017)

  • After IMFL, I had a spark in my step again. I realized that I do much better in a wetsuit in a lake for my swimming. So we chose Mont Tremblant.
  • Everything I did heading to Mont Tremblant was spot on. My training, my nutrition, my weight drop. Heck, we even cut back on alcohol! Even my mental toughness was there. I mean, EVERYTHING came together the day of the race.
  • “Swim Strong. Bike Smart. Run like a Pac-Man” was the motto that I used for Tremblant. My SIL, Vikki, and my niece, Taryn, and my nephew, Jaxson, watched me for the first time as an athlete. I couldn’t be more inspired seeing them out there.
  • It was my 12th Ironman Triathlon. I could have applied for the Ironman World Championship Legacy Spot, but I didn’t have to; I placed 3rd in my age group. But then, I heard those words from Mike Reilly on Monday morning, “Hey Jen, you want to go to Kona?”

13. Dreams Do Come True – Ironman World Championship 2017

  • Eight weeks later, we were at the Ironman World Championship, and holy SHIT, I fucking made a 28-year-old dream come true!
  • I did everything I could to make it memorable. I was interviewed by Training Peaks, Cervelo, and The Whoop. I did the Underpants Run and road on the Queen K. It was bloody perfect.
  • My Mom and her best friend were there. My best friend was there with her friend. My husband qualified as well. Even in the swim, I stopped to look up and just screamed. The lifeguard asked if I was OK. I told him, “Yes, I was fucking happy to be here!”
  • My mile 15 on the run. I truly hit the wall, but I knew I just needed to finish. This was my 13th Ironman Triathlon, and I heard those words from my friend, Mike Reilly, “Jennifer Rulon, You are an Ironman!”

14. Things Don’t Always Work Out – Ironman Florida 2018

  • After an epic 2017, I knew it would be to top it. I went into 2018 with terrible back pain, and come to find out; I pissed off my three bulging discs. I didn’t think I could ride again.
  • After April, training started coming around. Something else I needed to do was to drop the weight. I did. I dropped 10 lbs and realized once again; I was in the best shape of my life.
  • Hurricane Michael hit Panama City Beach, three weeks out from race day, and was so impressed by Ironman Triathlon, that we raced to Haines City, FL.
  • It wasn’t my day at all. I had a stellar swim, and within 2 minutes on the bike, I flatted. It took 25 minutes to fix that flat. I wanted to quit SO MANY TIMES that my goal was to finish that race indeed. It was my 14th Ironman Triathlon, and I still heard those words from my friend, Mike Reilly, “Jen Rulon, You Are An IRONMAN!”

I know that I will have many more learnings or life lessons when I do more Ironman Triathlons and 70.3 Ironman races. But, for now, I will enjoy the 14 that I have done and keep on training and racing for 2019. I do know what I plan on doing for next year, but I need to keep this quiet for now as I genuinely want to enjoy the next few months focusing on myself, my family, and my business.

Each Ironman that I do, I learn about the race, learn about myself, and realize what I have in my heart and mind. There are a lot of highs and lows in these races. But isn’t that life? I choose to learn about life through the eyes of a triathlete.

AUTHOR: Jen Rulon

I have been coaching triathletes, runners, and cyclists for over 21+ years; I received my Master's Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. And as you may have learned, there is more to life than swimming, biking, and running. It is a lifestyle, and I am here to help you cross that finish line with a smile, whether it is an Ironman Triathlon or the Ironman of Life. You can find my knowledge shared in Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx Stage, the Health and Wellness Expo in San Antonio, TX, Southwest Research Institute Human Performance Summit, Training Peaks Workshops, "Self Motivation Strategies for Women" on Amazon, Men's Journal Online, and the New York Times. I also practice what I preach—she's a 15x Ironman Triathlete who participated in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, on October 14, 2017.

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