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Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Well, August was a month of rebuilding for me. I was finally able to completely recover from the toll of adventure racing from the months of June and July and settle back into an ironman triathlon training regime.

The most difficult part of the transition was getting my legs used to frequent running, which is a much different motion than the trekking (ie. Power hiking) involved with adventure racing.

Thankfully, I was re-united with my Human Touch massage chair and re-discovered the benefits of the calf massage feature, which has proven to be critical in relaxing some extremely tight muscles. The combination of hilly San Francisco terrain and my tendency to sleep with my toes pointed results in shortened calf muscles. If I don’t stay on top of this, it can quickly refer into hip/quad pain as a resulted of altered gait. I am now up to 30-50 miles of running per week and have remained pain free!

Although I didn’t race myself during August, I was cheering on some special friends in their own ultra-endurance quests this summer. My friends Michele Santilhano and Shanna Armstrong (both of whom I met at Ultraman World Championships last year) both competed in the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon and the Boulder 24 Hours of Triathlon competitions. I returned to Denver to help pace a fellow runner at the Leadville 100 Trail Marathon, a 100 mile trail race at 10,000 feet elevation. “Pacing” involves running with a competitor and supporting him/her through portions of the last 50 miles of the race. Miles 50-80 involve a lot of hiking over beautiful mountain passes through the late hours of the evening. I spent 7 hours with my runner, a gentleman from Reno, NV, who has completed several 100-mile races in his running career. As we trekked alongside an alpine lake at midnight, I had a fleeting thought, “this is the 12th night I’ve spent this year, hiking through the night with some fellow racer!” I felt pretty fortunate to have the health and fortitude to be able to do such things with my body.

Last, but not least, my friend Sheldon Boreen finished his first Ultraman race in Penticton, Canada last weekend. An Ultraman is essentially a 3 day stage triathlon, involving 6.2 miles of swimming, 261 miles of cycling and 52 miles of running.

I’m so proud of the accomplishments of all of them!

Now, for me, 5 weeks remain until Ironman Hawaii. I have one more 24 hour adventure race (Tahoe Big Blue) between now and then. Although I haven’t been racing, I’ve had some very fun training weekends, involving long bike rides and runs at Lake Tahoe and along the beautiful coast of California. Thanks to many dozens of hours of massage, my friend Don Wolf (whom I mentioned suffers from a very painful back disorder) has been able to join me on some of my bike rides. Last weekend, we climbed a very steep coastal road that is part of the Tour de California. We cycled over a very famous climb from this race, where the names of famous pro cyclists are spray-painted onto the asphalt. I thought how amazing it was, that someone who is often bed-ridden with back pain, could be out doing this ride that even the pro’s would find difficult. That is really the amazing power of massage!

Iona MacKenzie

A manufacturing engineer by trade, turned triathlete and adventure race competitor, Iona Mackenzie has built a reputation as one of the toughest competitors on the circuit. She has been dubbed the “Queen of the Machine,” for her machine like ability to overcome physical pain during races.

“Our bodies are the vessels which house our souls, hearts and minds. They are here for us to live through, not just to hang clothes on. Play hard, work solid, eat well – and REST. For me, that’s the quickest recipe to happiness.”

- Iona MacKenzie