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Monday, January 26th, 2009

I am back and on track, after a difficult month of respiratory illness that wiped me out for the month of December. I live with moderate asthma, which normally doesn’t have much of an impact on my day-to-day life. Unfortunately, whenever I get a bug, my lungs are where it settles, and this often sets off a vicious cycle of inflammation and hypersensitivity. The only exercise I could do was running, so I decided to make lemonade out of lemons and use it as an opportunity to kick start my running base. I also used the time of reduced training to let my body go through some deep recovery. I must admit that spending hours in my Human Touch massage chair, reading books and sipping chai was part of this process!
For the Christmas holidays, I made it up to see my family in Calgary, Alberta. I got to enjoy the beauty of snow and spent a day snowshoeing in the mountains of Banff (see photos), which was an incredibly uplifting experience. Many people seem to be going through periods of winter melancholy right now – but I think playing outside in the beauty of nature is the perfect antidote to this!

I decided over the holidays to try to combine my racing with visits to/with my family. So, two of my A races this year will reflect this. In the summer, I plan to do the Calgary 70.3 half ironman (part of the Ironman series), which is a first time event that looks like it will be an amazing venue. For Ultraman, I’ve invited my parents to come to Hawaii with me for a week, to cheer me on during the race and to also spend some time on the Big Island with me. Otherwise, I am filling in the gaps with local Bay area ultramarathons and multisport events.

One of the first things I did to ring in the New Year was to get rid of my car. I am loaning it out to a friend for a few months, and using its absence as an opportunity to put in more cycling miles with my 23 mile round-trip commute to/from work. So, already, my cycling training is off to a good start and combining it with my bike commute helps maximize my time usage.

As for ultramarathons, I participated in a 58km run called “The Epiphany Run” in Oakland, California on the first weekend of the month. I can’t say that I actually had an epiphany during it, but now I am back on track with doing long ultra-runs each weekend, and find that the more I do this, the more invitations I receive to do this!

Anyways, the year is off to a great start! I think I’ll need a LOT of massage this year to ward off the overuse injuries that might try to creep up with all these activities!

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. Iona loves Human Touch massage chairs and attributes quick rejuvenation from adventure racing to the benefits of massage while using her Human Touch massage chair.

“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