I am an elementary school teacher with a passion for helping others. I completed my first Ironman triathlon this past July. I finished the Vineman Full Triathlon in Sonoma County in a little under 14 hours. It wasn’t easy but it was an amazing experience. I felt lucky to be able to live it. It was my first year training for an endurance event. I come from a ballet background and more recently, pole fitness background. I fell in love with Triathlon and am back for more this year!
What inspired you to do an Ironman?
I moved to Camarillo last year when my fiancée got a teaching job in Oxnard. I had been thinking about doing some sort of Team In Training event such as a century ride but after looking into the options for training in the area and not having a full time teaching position, I thought, hey, I have the time to train for an Ironman, I might as well do it. My thought was “go big or go home!” I’m so glad I was crazy enough to go for it.
Can you share with us your cause you are fundraising for?
I fund raise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I do it in honor of a dear friend who lost her battle with Leukemia at the age of 15. Leukemia affects many children and young adults which is why I support LLS.
Here are some facts about Leukemia (you can find more information on the LLS website):
- “Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children and adolescents ages 0 to 19 years, accounting for 27 percent of all types of cancer occurring among children and adolescents younger than 20 years.
- An estimated 3,811 children and adolescents younger than 15 years old will be diagnosed with leukemia in the United States in 2011.
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in children aged 1 to 7 years old.
- Survival statistics have improved significantly over the past five decades. Most children and adolescents under 20 with ALL will become five-year survivors of the disease.”
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has done a lot to improve the lives of patients and has funded one of the leading drugs that helps cancer patients. We hear stories every practice of people who have survived thanks to the fundraising we do as Team In Training. I really believe in this cause and this organization because there exists so much evidence of the real positive changes it has made for the lives of cancer patients.
Every donation inspires me to push myself further and gives me hope. Cancer doesn’t care who you are, what you do, or where you come from…this is why fundraising is so important. So many people are affected by cancer. Know that you are making a real difference by making a donation to LLS. You can do so right here! Please help sponsor my 140.6 miles. I will carry your name with me on race day!
We know you are currently training for you next one, can you share with us what it takes to prepare for an Ironman?
Much like a pole competition or any other competitive sport, preparing for an Ironman is practicing. We run, swim, and bike 6 days a week. The bulk of the workouts are on the weekends where we will usually do a brick workout (bike ride immediately followed by a run). Training for an Ironman takes months. My race is at the end of August but I started training in November. Our coaches have told us that because everything we do is so repetitious, we need to make sure our running/biking/swimming form are good to prevent injury. Core work and strength work help. I’m convinced that I’m a strong swimmer because of my pole fitness background. Another important part of training is figuring out your nutrition strategy. When you are out there exerting yourself physically for 14 hours, you need to refuel on the go. During training is the time to experiment with different options. Everyone is different. Luckily, Team In Training coaches and staff are so knowledgeable that they guide us and help us figure things out.
What's the most challenging thing you go through when doing the Ironman?
For me, the most challenging part was the run. Running is difficult for me. But every time I run and during my first race, I reminded myself why I was doing it…the people I fight for. That gets me through every run during training and it got me through my race. Also, on race day, family, team, and crowd support was amazing. Every time I saw a friendly face, it helped to keep going.
I also am still playing around with my nutrition strategy. I found something that worked last year which got me through my race but I think I could find something better that might help me perform better. I’m thinking about that this year. I’d like to improve my times in all the fields and do a 12 hour Ironman. It’s a daring goal but hey, I’ll never know until I try!
What is the best part about training for & completing the Ironman?
The best part about training for an Ironman is the people that I get to train with. The IronTEAM is full of amazing individuals. It is very inspiring. Each has their own story as to why they joined the TEAM and everyone struggles through different things. Seeing others conquer their fears and push through discomfort and pain all in the hopes of finding a cure for cancer is truly magical. I feel really lucky to experience it. Completing an Ironman gives you a feeling that you can do anything. When I feel like I can’t do something, I remind myself that I did an Ironman and if I can do that, I can do anything. You just have to put your mind to it. 90% mental, 10% physical. I think you can do anything if you believe. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true. It’s an amazing feeling.
Other hobbies/fitness interests that you want to share with us?
I still pole dance, stretch, and do a bit of yoga even with the training. I think it’s a good balance to have a dance background. I am aware of my core and my flexibility which is helpful in my training and form. I love dancing and it is still a way to relax and to stay toned (and I practice in my Mika Yoga Wear!). I practice at home on my pole and try to dance a bit every week.
I also love to bake! If you donate and live nearby, I’ll bake you anything you want.
Another thing I’m constantly reminded of in this process is how lucky I am to have a wonderful supportive family, amazing friends, and having the chance to get to know and interact with so many great people. I am a lucky person and am so happy. I’m sure the endorphins from all the training help but also, you can’t help but smile when you know you’re making a difference in the world. I hope that I can inspire some of you to do an Ironman or anything you have on your bucket list. Do it NOW. Don’t say someday…just go for it! And if you’re unsure, join an organization like Team In Training. You won’t regret it.
A note from us: (the Mika Team)
Thank you Amy for sharing your passion & dedication with us! We are truly inspired by you & would like to help you fund raise! If any readers out there are interested in donating, we'd like to sweeten the deal! Just donate $30. or higher on Amy's fundraising page & you will receive Mika gift code worth $36. We will be donating a total of 10 gift cards so first come, first serve.
Here's how it will work:
- Go here to make a donation: http://pages.teamintraining.org/los/ironca13/amyjoyrichard
- Donate at least $30.
- Leave a comment in the checkout comments section that you are interested in receiving our Mika Gift.
- Amy will email you the gift code to use at mikayogawear.com
- The first 10 requests will receive our Mika Gift, so make sure to get in your donations as soon as you can!
Contribute to a great cause, save a little on some new Mika gear & help reach Amy's goal- sounds like a good deal to us!