Ironman Arizona 2017

"We rise by lifting others." - Robert Ingersol

If there was a theme to come from Ironman Arizona this past weekend, it would be that with the support of friends, family, and teammates the most challenging task become more manageable. I couldn't be more proud of the collaborative effort of the members of Team Foundation in supporting their Teammates through this epic day.

Congratulations to the members of Team Foundation and to all those that toed the line and experienced a life changing day at IMAZ on Sunday!

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CARYN: The incredible thing about Caryn is that she is consistent and she has an insatiable appetite for triathlon. Simply give Caryn a plan with purpose and she not only executes the plan, but she makes sure to execute the plan to the best of her ability. Caryn has maintained this attitude towards athletics for more than 30 years.

Almost two years ago now, Caryn graciously allowed me the opportunity to help her reach her goal of completing her first Ironman. It immediately impressed me that she understood the importance of taking the necessary time to build to her goal. She went on to accomplish a 70.3 after the first year of training and then finally built to her goal of completing IMAZ during the second year of her training.

Caryn's journey towards IMAZ this past year brought with it significant improvements in her swim and bike fitness/strength and with a new found powerful improvement in her run fitness with the use of a walk/jog plan. To say that making these changes was easy is far from the truth. Caryn consistently pushed herself to reach these changes all while juggling a full time teaching job and part time jobs as a cross country and swim coach.

Come race day, Caryn proved that she was ready for IMAZ. She met all her fitness goals to be ready, however the one thing that was out of her control was race day weather conditions. Caryn had a flawless Ironman swim with some of the best swim lines we've seen from her and then when she made it out on the bike she was delivered a challenging bike race day with the incredible head winds. She kept pushing and pushing through the bike course and she made it to T2 53 seconds past the bike cut off time. With a heavy heart she was not allowed to continue the race.

The hearts of all those that know Caryn have been aching for her. We've all had races or moments that do not go as expected, but when it happens to someone that more than deserves this experience, it's very difficult to stomach.

Caryn is a fighter and has made the decision to come back for another opportunity at IMAZ in 2018. She will continue to persevere and she will continue to build strength to battle her way to the finish line. We believe in you, Caryn!
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SHANNON: Shannon and I met a few years ago through the East Valley Runners. Watching her progress through the half marathon and eventually, then marathon distance was exciting. Then she took the plunge into the triathlon world and she graciously offered me the opportunity to coach her through to her first 70.3 in 2015. She took one year off from training to finishing her engineering degree and then as a present to herself, for finishing school, she decided to take on another challenge of completing IMAZ 2017.

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Shannon's work and life schedule is challenging. Due to the demands of her job she is often working late into the day and is often putting in overtime to complete her work. She is often stretched very thin. The goal for her training was to find the most effective dosage of training to get her to her goal that still allowed her plenty of time for rest, recovery, and personal time. She is very in tune to her body and did a fantastic job of communicating how she is feeling and recovering which allowed us to keep her healthy through her training.

The one that thing makes Shannon stand out while racing her is her signature smile. With the anxiety of IMAZ race day, I was nervous that her smile would be hidden, but thankfully I was VERY wrong. Her smile was brighter than ever. Her bright smile carried her through an incredible day at IMAZ. She had a fabulous swim, strong bike, and ran like she hadn't completed 104.4 miles just prior. Her run from was flawless!

Watching her cross the finish line was heartwarming. To see her journey come full circle in the last 3 years is a testament to the fact that goal achievement is about persistence and consistency. You did it Shannon! Congratulations!
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JULIANNE: Sunday was Ironman #3 for Julianne. Over the last year, Julianne demonstrated a significant improvement in her FTP and strength on the bike and her form and strength on the run steadily improved as well. She also experienced a renewed passion for swimming with the help of ASU Masters Swim.

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Last year at IMAZ Julianne executed an incredible race, but the run was riddled with episodes of illness. She was depleted of energy and due to this more than likely left a little bit on the course. She was diligent about focusing on her race day nutrition plan this year and was tuned into decreasing the changes of illness on the run.

On Sunday she executed a great swim, good bike with some loss in energy during the last lap and had a little bit of struggle on the run, not because of illness, but because of the wind stirring up chest discomfort which lead to difficulty with breathing. With the force of her own positive thinking, she was able to turn the difficult run portion of the race and finished the last 9 miles of the run with a VERY strong pace and with the attitude of determination!

The best think I can ever hear from an athlete is their positive feelings about their mental fortitude in a race and that's exactly what I heard from Julianne. She found an inner strength that she had never met before and used this to bring herself to the finish line. She will always remember this race as a testament to her will power.

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Congratulations, Julianne!!
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JAMES: James works M-F in Tucson in a very, very busy field of construction. He travels back to Phoenix for the weekends, to spend time with his wife Allyson, and to get his long training in. The conditions James faced during his training were not ideal, but he managed to make it work. James is a humble human being that has a gift for the grind without excuses or complaints. In fact, to probably his annoyance, it's I that worked to pull bits of information from him about how he's doing otherwise he may never tell me.

Despite his gift for the grind, he is also very smart about his training and health. He knows when enough is enough and when to put rest, recovery and family first. His good judgment allowed him to maintain a level of training that kept him on track towards his goal. James's goal was to complete two Ironmans in one year, first Boulder 140.6 last June and now IMAZ.

Boulder was a challenge due to nutrition difficulties on the run. After discussions about this training and race nutrition, James dialed in his new nutrition plan and I'm happy to say he finished IMAZ with an incredible time, especially with all that's been through this year, without performance nutrition issues!

Congratulations, James! Enjoy your well deserved and much needed down time.
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ANDREA: Driven is not a just a simple word to use to describe Andrea. She is extremely driven! Put any goal in front of Andrea and it will happen and it will happen with meticulous effort!

 Photo credit: Syria Watson

Photo credit: Syria Watson

Andrea is a strong, confident swimmer. She came from a swimming background and has managed to adapt to long endurance swims without difficulty. Her biking fitness has dramatically improved over this past year and it appears as though she has really grown to love biking as well. Because of her current bike fitness, she was able to maintain the same pace at IMAZ as she did for her first 70.3 just one year ago! And, If you ask Andrea about her run fitness, she may not give you as big of smile about running as she would in regards to swimming and biking, but she has so much to be proud of in this department. She consistently breaks down walls in regards to running and she achieved a major milestone while running the marathon portion of IMAZ - she ran the furthest that she has in years and she did it without injury! I was jumping up and down for joy every time she completed a mile past her previous run fitness on Sunday. It was so exciting to see her prove to herself that she is capable of anything!

The one thing I know about Andrea is that she has a constant hunger for improvement. I foresee a long future in the sport of triathlon for her.

I'm extremely proud of you for your consistent effort in your training and for your performance at IMAZ, Andrea!. Enjoy the glory of your achievement!
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GABE: The quiet assassin is a good phrase to use to describe, Gabe. Give Gabe a plan and he executes without fanfare. He's a worker bee that constantly strives to prove to himself that he is capable of more.

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Less than two years ago Gabe had not swam for exercise. He took swim lessons, learned as much as he could, followed his training and before you knew it he turned himself into a swimmer. Gabe also does not have a biking background and he owns a very heavy road bike. Our biggest concern with his bike fitness was his ability to gain strength on the bike and work to overcome the weight of his bike through his own power. He did just that, he put in the time and made huge strides in his bike strength and managed to push through the very challenging wind at IMAZ this past Sunday for an incredible finish on the bike. The most incredible aspect of Gabe's training has been his run. Gabe managed to run the same pace per mile this past Sunday at IMAZ as he did for his first 70.3 just one year ago! Wow, he doubled the run distance and maintained the same pace - absolutely incredible!

If you could have seen Gabe "glide" into the last 200 meters of the race on Sunday you would have thought that he was at mile one of a training run - his form was flawless and he looked so strong! This was astounding to witness!

Gabe's first athletic passion is golf! I'm not sure if he will continue with the Ironman distance, but I do know that based on his current progress, his work ethic, his humble nature, and his pride, that he has limitless potential. Congratulations, Gabe, for you very inspiring performance at IMAZ on Sunday. I'm VERY proud of you!
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ROB: Rob and I met several years ago when he was dealing with running related injuries. Rob put a focused effort into learning and healing from his injuries and went on to finally run his first marathon without pain/difficulty! After seeing his athletic talent, I casually mentioned the idea of triathlons to Rob - he bit the hook and went for it! Rob's first triathlon was in Sept 2016.

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Rob had never swam for exercise prior to 1.5 years ago. I can't help thinking how much of an incredible swimming career Rob may have had as a youth swimmer based on his current amazing ability to swim. He's a fish! For his first Ironman, Rob managed to swim a 1:12! WOW! Rob has a history of mountain biking for cross training and came into tri training with a strong bike fitness that has consistently improved. With Rob's running background he adapted to the training for the Ironman run without a problem due to the slower paces and lower mileage.

For his first Ironman, Rob put on an incredible performance. He maintained a positive spirit through the entire race and even when he felt less than stellar on the run he was still smiling and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

You never cease to amaze me, Rob! Thank you so much for the opportunity to be your coach and watch you take on and complete life changing goals over the last few years. I'm really looking forward to your future tri adventures.
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MATT: Matt stumbled into triathlons after learning that he loved to bike while establishing a cross training routine when healing from an injury. It was one year ago that Matt decided to venture into the triathlon world when he signed up for Ironman Arizona.

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Matt's purpose is triathlons! He has a passion for triathlons that brings a smile to my face, but also challenges me at times. Matt loves to push the boundaries of his training, but it's not always necessarily because he's being deviant, with education and guidance about the science of accommodation and adaption to training, he makes better decisions about his training and keeps on track.

When he stays on track, his progress is mesmerizing. He possesses incredible aerobic efficiency - he was an engine for the long stuff. Because of his incredible aerobic engine, he managed a spectacular performance at his very first Ironman this past Sunday. He managed a better than expected swim, a steady bike, and held on to the run to achieve a sub 11 hour finish!

Watching Matt's dream unfold on Sunday was unbelievable knowing how much this day meant to him. He's a gracious individual that does not accept full responsibility for his incredible abilities although he should. Because he believes in the power of a team effort towards his excellence he will always and consistently be successful.

Congratulations on completing your first Ironman in spectacular fashion, Matt! There's so much waiting for you in 2018 - I can't wait!
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Coach DANELLE: Coach Danelle is super human. She has proved time and time again that she is capable of achieving incredible levels of fitness that most of us can dream of.

This past Sunday was her second attempt at IMAZ. During her first attempt 3 years ago, she fought through an injury she suffered during the swim portion of the race to finish IMAZ with a respectable time despite a debilitating injury. She came back from her injury much stronger and approached the starting line of IMAZ 2017 in incredible shape.

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Unfortunately, without warning during the swim portion of last Sunday she experienced severe difficulty in breathing (which she describes as a feeling of an asthma attack) which delayed her predicted swim finish. Then, when on the bike, she lost her spare bike tube and then unfortunately suffered a flat. Due to having 650 wheels, she was delayed ~1.5 hours while waiting for help to repair her tire. She eventually got back on the bike and pushed the pace to make 3pm bike course cut off time. She biked into Rio Solado/Mill Rd turn around at 3:01 pm and was pulled from the course. Heart breaking!

Rightfully very disappointed, Danelle processed through difficulty emotions from the day and then graciously turned around and came back to support her Teammates through the remainder of the evening. Your pride in being a giving and gracious athlete is commendable, Danelle. Thank you for being so generous with your emotions in supporting others on Sunday when you most certainly deserved to process your own emotions independently.

You demonstrate the highest level of class as an athlete and coach! We know and believe you and know your return in 2018 will be fruitful on good karma!

Thank you to all those that came out to the Foundation Tent to join in on the cheering and fun!