Fed & Fit

Ep. 59: Guest Jen Rulon Coach & 9x Ironman Athlete

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The Fed+Fit Podcast | Nurturing a Healthy Mindset for a Healthy Lifestyle

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Episode 59 Topics:

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Ep. 59: Special Guest Jen Rulon Coach & 9x Ironman Athlete

Today I interview 9 time ironman athlete and accomplished triathlon coach, Jen Rulon, about the importance of strength training for endurance events, proper timing for carb loading, and her most recent experience as a TEDx presenter.

TOPICS:
1. Introducing our guest, Jen Rulon [3:36]
2. Benefits of strength training [8:59]
3. How much rest is enough for recovery [13:24]
4. Using nutrition for recovery [17:18]
5. Carb loading before an endurance event [24:13]
6. Jen’s TEDx Talk [26:53]
7. Quick tips for getting started endurance training [40:29]

Cassy Joy: Good morning everybody! I’m excited to be back. I took a little bit of a hiatus; a break so I could get some work done on my book, but we’re back, better than ever. I decided that I really want to enter into a phase where I am interviewing some of the people who I love and respect in this industry, and one of the first names that came to mind is a dear friend of mine. Her name is Jen Rulon, and Jen and I both live in San Antonio, Texas, and she’s an incredible lady for a lot of reasons. But just to give you a brief bulleted overview, and then I’m going to let Jen take it away, tell you a little bit more about herself, but she is a 9-time Ironman athlete. The lady is just incredible. I’m constantly in awe of watching her incredible successes with these events. She’s also a coach; she’s coached and motivated athletes not only to get their first triathlon, but some of them to get up to their third ironman triathlon. And she really does an incredible job of guiding her athletes to learn beyond the physical aspects of just doing the training and the event itself.

She has learned how to structure live with the Ironman triathlon training, so really how to combine, I know that’s a passion of hers; how to look past just the training and incorporate it with your everyday life, and I’m going to have her tell you more about that. But she received her Master’s degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise science, and started her business, JenRulon.com. You will also see some of her knowledge shared in Runner’s World, Men’s Online Journal, WebMD, and she was just most recently a TEDx speaker. I’m so thrilled to introduce you guys to the very sweet, very knowledgeable, and very strong Jen Rulon. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Jen.

Jen Rulon: Thanks for having me, Cassy. Wow, what an introduction. It’s pretty crazy, sometimes as a business owner, as an athlete you just sort of sit there, and you’re like, “oh, I need to do this better, I need to do that more.” And I’m like, dang, I’ve done a lot! {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Yeah you have! That’s so funny. It’s so true, it’s so true. We sit down at our computers, and we work; us type-A trying to make it better and better personalities. It’s pretty cool to sit back. You have accomplished a lot, and I’ve always admired you. I was thinking about it; I moved back to San Antonio and started working at LuLuLemon.

Jen Rulon: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: Which I think is where you and I first connected.

Jen Rulon: That’s correct.

Cassy Joy: Is it? Ok. And that was almost 7 years ago.

Jen Rulon: Has it been that long?

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Isn’t that incredible?

Jen Rulon: Oh my goodness. Wow. We’ve done a lot, girl!

Cassy Joy: We have. A lot has happened. You know, in 2011 I started Fed and Fit, so that’s happened. We just; a lot has happened. So it’s pretty neat to say I’ve known you as long as I have. And even cooler to watch what you’ve done with your business over the years. But I would love if you would take a moment to tell folks a little bit more about yourself, your background, and what you’re up to.

1. Introducing our guest, Jen Rulon [3:36]

Jen Rulon: Sure. So, well the cool thing is I am currently training for my 10th Ironman triathlon.

Cassy Joy: Yeah girl!

Jen Rulon: So that is on May 14th in the Woodlands. It’s been an interesting journey just because I’ve really pushed this year, more so. And I’ve come to realize that I’m not doing an Ironman just to finish an Ironman; I’m doing an Ironman to race and do well in my age group. So that’s the one part of my journey, is definitely Ironman triathlon training.

But then as a coach, this is actually my second career. I left a fulltime job with benefits, amazing job, and I decided I was done with it. So I took a jump and started working at LuLuLemon and going back to grad school. I was really passionate about coaching, because I was doing triathlon coaching for quite some time. I got my USA triathlon level 1 certification in 2001, and then I would do all these races, I would coach people, but I didn’t understand the why behind it. I am a science geek from the very beginning, so I wanted to know what was going on with my body, what was going on with my athletes’ body during the training. So that’s what made me want to go back and get my masters, and just understand exercise physiology. What’s happening when we’re at altitude. What’s happening when we’re taking in too much nutrition or not enough nutrition, that type of thing.

So, I got my Master’s degree May of 2012, and then by November of that year I decided to start Jen Rulon, LLC, and then opted to go JenRulon.com. And I have been coaching triathletes, getting them ready for half Ironman’s, Ironman triathlons, sprint triathlons. But another thing that really puts me apart from other triathlon coaches is that I’m a huge advocate of strength training. And honestly, Cassy, I don’t think we need a new ointment or drinking water for the fountain of youth, because I truly feel that strength training is our fountain of youth. And eating, obviously, eating the right things. But, I look at my pictures from 2004, 2001, or 2002 doing my Ironman’s to now, and I am in so much better shape with adding strength training for triathletes.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

Jen Rulon: I did, you know, I did triathlons, found Crossfit, drank the Kool-Aid, and then went back to triathlons. But what I loved about Crossfit is that it taught me the importance of strength and why it is needed for triathletes. So every Friday I try to blog about strength training for triathletes and just what’s important, why we need it, how you fit it into our crazy schedule; especially as Ironman triathletes and half-Ironman triathletes. So, yeah, I feel like that’s a little bit; I’m not your traditional triathlon coach. I feel like I have added an element of strength training to that. And I think a lot of people, a lot of triathlon coaches are getting on board, but they just don’t know what to do.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. It’s definitely a distinguishing factor, at least of a lot of people who I’ve come across. And you know, I’m in the yogi/Crossfit world a little bit.

Jen Rulon: Yes.

Cassy Joy: And I’ve dabbled in endurance events, and I was in; more so just running. But I did a lot of running endurance events before I was introduced to Crossfit, and then I did a few afterwards, and it was night and day just in my accidental mixed fitness programming, kind of unintentional to combine the two. But, I was a much healthier athlete, my times were better.

Jen Rulon: Yes.

Cassy Joy: Training was much easier. I didn’t have to run as long or as far.

Jen Rulon: Yep. Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: So that’s something that I kind of passively observed, and I just think it’s incredible that you’ve taken that to just a programming level, and it’s awesome that you’re coaching folks that way. I think it’s really, really great, and really important. And a lot of listeners here, a lot of us understand the importance of strength training, but there are also a lot of women who are still new to it and still a little bit fearful.

Jen Rulon: Yes.

2. Benefits of strength training [8:59]

Cassy Joy: You know? Have you encountered any clients that have been a little bit resistant to strength training, and if so what’s some of your advice to them? Or how would you describe the benefits?

Jen Rulon: You know, for most of my triathletes that I coach, they know the importance of strength training, but they don’t know why they need to do it.

Cassy Joy: Gotcha.

Jen Rulon: So I think understanding the why’s behind it will help. But when it comes to; yeah, I do know women tend to get nervous of lifting weights because they think they’re going to get too bulky, and that is not it at all. The thing, if you are going to do triathlon training or running and then adding strength, you cannot be huge and cannot run fast. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. {laughs}

Jen Rulon: You know? And that’s basic exercise physiology. I should say, run fast for very long. Because I look at sprinters, and some of those girl sprinters are just cut, but they do a lot of power lifting, they do a lot of Olympic lifting. But their workouts are consistent of 800 meter runs, and that type of thing. Where as in long distance runners, even a 5K or half marathon/marathon, you are not going to get bulky by adding strength.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

Jen Rulon: Because you go out and run 5 days a week, and maybe you get into the gym 2 times a week. So I think that’s where a lot of athlete’s get scared, or uncomfortable just because they’re like; oh, I’m going to bulk out. It’s actually quite contradictory; you will not bulk up.

Cassy Joy: Totally, yeah. That makes perfect sense. It’s almost like, when I did; this is not advice I’m giving people {laughs} just a disclaimer, you know it’s kind of one of those do as I say not as I do.

Jen Rulon: Right.

Cassy Joy: But I rolled out of bed one day about a year ago, and my sister wanted me to do a half marathon with her.

Jen Rulon: Oh gosh.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} And I think the most I had run for what, 4 months, 5 months leading up until that point was maybe a mile and a half, Jen.

Jen Rulon: Oh my goodness.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} So I’m a very yes person, so I was like, sure! You know, I’ll help pick up the cones on my way in because I’ll be walking. {laughs} And I surprised myself; I was actually, I told myself I’d run until; you know, I would just listen to my body, right?

Jen Rulon: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: And pay attention to how I was feeling. And at that point, I had fallen into a pretty great groove with Crossfit and with a yoga practice that I really love, but that was pretty much it. Before that I had incorporated a lot more endurance events, but I had kind of taken a little bit of an accidental break. Anyway, in this event, I wound up getting my best time.

Jen Rulon: Really?

Cassy Joy: Yes! And I’m not; I’m by no means a natural runner, at least not competitively. But I surprised myself, and I think that the secret weapon there was just the strength and the flexibility that I had been focused on.

Jen Rulon: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: And again, I’m not recommending that for people.

Jen Rulon: Correct.

Cassy Joy: Because I did suffer some consequences a few days later.

Jen Rulon: Yeah. And that’s the thing; it’s the recovery that kills a lot of us.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

Jen Rulon: It’s; yeah. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Absolutely, that’s a good point. But I’m just, just to really bolster even more what you’re saying, mixed fitness. Which is something that I actually talk about in my upcoming book; and also funny you used “no special oil or fountain of youth,” I think reference both of those words! {laughs}

Jen Rulon: That’s funny, that’s awesome. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: So we’re on the same page, girlfriend.

Jen Rulon: Good!

3. How much rest is enough for recovery [13:24]

Cassy Joy: But yeah, just to further solidify your point, I think you’re definitely onto something, and that’s great advice for people to hear. And quickly; I didn’t prep you on this question, but I’d love to talk about recovery, since you brought it up.

Jen Rulon: Sure.

Cassy Joy: But I think it’s a good point to talk about. If somebody is having a long time recovering; or, how much rest do you think is enough rest for an endurance athlete or someone who is just really trying to get started, and maybe they’re looking at an Olympic triathlon as a goal, maybe one day an Ironman, but they’re really just looking to get started.

Jen Rulon: Sure.

Cassy Joy: How much rest do you recommend for the average athlete?

Jen Rulon: You know, I think for the average athlete, if you’re looking to do a sprint distance triathlon or Olympic distance triathlon, what the guideline that I will use a lot is that you do two swims, two bikes, two runs during the week. Whatever your weakest event is, then you add an event. So if your bike is the weakest, then you go 2-3-2. Usually, one day off is fine for athletes. And usually Ironman athletes and half Ironman athletes will usually have one day off as well. But when I say a day off, I mean a day off. And that means that you are sitting on the beach; maybe you don’t have that option, right?

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

Jen Rulon: Or, you sleep in. My husband and I call it sleep in Saturday, because that’s usually when we sleep in. Sometimes we get up at 10 o'clock. And it is a full rest day. We’re not out there mowing the lawn, we’re not out there running around, doing errands with friends, going down the Riverwalk, having a drink on the Riverwalk. We are truly at the house doing laundry, folding laundry while we’re sitting watching whatever. A cheesy movie. And we don’t have kids, you know, so I know it can be hard.

There was one time I had an athlete who was getting ready for an Ironman, and she’s got 2 kids. I gave her, I think it was Sunday as a day off. Well, Monday she started her workouts, and she goes, “Jen, I’m so exhausted.”

Cassy Joy: Mmm.

Jen Rulon: And I’m like, well what are you doing on Mondays? And she’s like, well we went to the zoo, we went to the park, we went here, we went here. So she was constantly in motion on her day off. So we opted to change her day off on a Thursday when the kids were in school, and that she could get stuff done around the house, and sleep in, and take a nap, and that type of thing. So recovery is such a key element, you know?

And then also, the recovery trying to fuel your body after a really hard and long workout is important as well.

Cassy Joy: Yeah! And I would love to talk more about that, as well. Great advice on the rest, and I really wanted you to deliver that point. {laughs} So thank you.

Jen Rulon: You’re welcome.

Cassy Joy: It’s something that I’ve touched on in the past, but it just helps to reiterate that rest day really means rest day.

Jen Rulon: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: It doesn’t mean; for example, a lot of folks in this vein are in the get 10,000 steps a day kind of group.

Jen Rulon: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: And that’s great, but what I try to tell folks that it’s good to get, just up and moving in a general sense, but if you’ve also incorporated rigorous weekly workouts and you’re training towards some sort of physical activity goal, on that day off or two days off or whatever it is, dial back those steps. Those steps are not just kind of like a free pass; they don’t count against your efforts.

Jen Rulon: Right.

4. Using nutrition for recovery [17:18]

Cassy Joy: So that’s a great point. But I would love to also talk about nutrition and recovery; using nutrition for recovery.

Jen Rulon: For recovery.

Cassy Joy: Yeah! For whether it’s an intense training day or for an actual event.

Jen Rulon: {laughs} So, you probably saw my Snapchat photo last night, but it was a huge pizza. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

Jen Rulon: So here’s the thing. What I do for recovery; what I do overall for nutrition, I generally will count my macros. So my fats, my carbohydrates, my proteins. So that’s generally what I will do. And I will get on My Fitness Pal and I will plug everything in. Usually if I have a hard workout on a Friday, or a hard workout on a Sunday, I will use those days as refuel days. And that means that I can eat what I want because I have burned so many calories.

So for me, I feel like my recovery nutrition is a little bit different than maybe someone who is walking 10,000 steps a day, you know? But when it comes to recovery, I do tend to try to do the cleanness of it all, but there are times when I will go to Five Guys, and I will get a burger wrapped in lettuce because my body is craving the protein, and then I will get fries because my body is craving the salt. Things like that.

You know, it’s terrible because as a triathlete and an Ironman triathlete, I do utilize those really long workouts to refuel my body. So I may not be the best about recovery and food. {laughing}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} I don’t know. With 9 Ironman’s under your belt, and working on your 10th, and you’re still in incredible health, and you're competitive; I would say you’re doing something right.

Jen Rulon: I’m doing something right, right?

Cassy Joy: Yeah, exactly.

Jen Rulon: And that’s another thing; after a hard, solid workout, I will take in a recovery drink within 30 minutes. And that’s just your basic whey protein; if you don’t do whey or milk, you got soy, you’ve got pea protein. Whey is definitely your best, but if you can’t handle the milk then figure out what type of protein you need. But you need that 3:1 ratio; 3 amounts of protein to 1 carbohydrate. So for example, maybe I’ll take in a protein shake, and then I’ll throw some berries in there.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

Jen Rulon: I know you’re a big shake person. Or take protein, if you don’t have a blender, but you’re at the; like you just got done with your run, but you’re somewhere else. Grab a banana or grab a piece of fruit, there’s your carbohydrates, and then take a protein shake. Even if you have to go to the corner store and get a Muscle Milk and a banana, there’s your 3 and 1.

Cassy Joy: There’s a way to make it work.

Jen Rulon: Yes. And it has to be within 30 minutes after a really hard, intense workout to get that full effect to recover your body for the next round.

Cassy Joy: That’s awesome. You know, I think that’s a good point to touch on. Especially in this industry, I’m sure you encounter a lot of people who really strive for perfection. And it often becomes something that trips you up, because if you’re constantly worried about how to get the perfect nutrition and replenishment, the timing and the types of foods, it can almost keep you from going. I was talking to somebody recently who was like; “well, I didn’t go work out today because I didn’t have my post workout recovery snack ready to go.”

Jen Rulon: That’s an excuse.

Cassy Joy: It is an excuse. It’s totally an excuse. But it’s the idea of progress, it means so much more than the perfection.

Jen Rulon: Yes.

Cassy Joy: Maybe a bag of shredded chicken and half of a sweet potato would nutritionally provide you with the great macros and some great micro nutrients to help round it out, but that’s just maybe not always feasible. So I think that’s a great point to just make it work.

Jen Rulon: Yeah. And you know, my biggest go to is Quest bars, man. I will always have a Quest bar somewhere; in my car, in a bag, I’ll always have that. And if I get done with the workout, and I know that I won’t be able to get to my house until an hour later because I’m out doing errands, I will grab a Quest bar. And it’s not the face that I want to eat bars as a meal, because I prefer to eat natural food; but there comes a point that my body needs it.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm, absolutely. That’s a great point. I don’t know if you’ve heard about these bars, but one of my favorite ones to keep in my purse and my computer back and stashed in my car, it’s called Rx Bars.

Jen Rulon: Nuh-uh.

Cassy Joy: They are awesome. I think Whole Foods just barely started stocking them, but you can definitely order them online. And they’re delicious. They’re made up with dates for sweetener; it’s the only sweetener, almonds, and they’ve got egg white for protein.

Jen Rulon: Oooh.

Cassy Joy: And then just a bunch of really fun flavors. One of my favorite ones that comes to mind is the mint chocolate; it’s awesome.

Jen Rulon: Ooh yeah.

Cassy Joy: So good. Blueberry is awesome. They actually inspired; I have a protein bar recipe that I’m going to include in my book, heavily inspired by my attempt to make a homemade Rx Bar.

Jen Rulon: Good for you. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Man, that was a labor of love girl. I think I went through 20 batches of bars before…

Jen Rulon: {laughs} Oh trust me, I’ve tried to make some of your things, and they do not look as pretty as what you put out there. I don’t know how you do it.

Cassy Joy: I still remember you, I think you sent me a picture of the almond joys.

Jen Rulon: I did, yep.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Jen Rulon: Not pretty, but darn good.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, really delicious. It took some practice to get them to look a certain way. But that’s funny. But anyway, I think that’s great advice. Just try to get as close as you can.

Jen Rulon: Yeah.

5. Carb loading before an endurance event [24:13]

Cassy Joy: Ok, so that leads me into another nutrition related question that I have for you that I get a lot from people. So let’s say they’ve got an event coming up, whether it’s a triathlon or just, maybe it’s a half marathon or something. And they want to make sure that their bodies are ready for that event. So a concept that comes around a lot is carbo loading.

Jen Rulon: {laughs} Yeah.

Cassy Joy: They think that the day before the event, they should have themselves a big bowl of pasta, or in my paleo world it would be like a giant baked potato.

Jen Rulon: Right.

Cassy Joy: But what really is the important thing to keep in mind when it comes to preparing for an endurance, you know, game time event. What do you really need, and when do you really need it?

Jen Rulon: So those free pasta meals the night before; a big no-no.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Jen Rulon: You need to eat your; you need to carbo load at least 2 days out from your race. So usually if a race is on Sunday, you’ll want to start doing that Friday night, Friday afternoon is usually what will happen. And then as you get closer to your event, that’s when you start maybe wanting to pull the carbo; not pull the carbohydrate out, you’re going to have a little bit. But take out the fiber as well. Not take in as much fiber. So yeah, the carbo loading is definitely going to be on Friday night.

Cassy Joy: Awesome. Amen sister! {laughs} Yeah, I think that there are so many folks who, when it does come time to the real race or the run, a really heavy pasta meal the night before might;

Jen Rulon: Terrible.

Cassy Joy: Yeah! It’s just not going to make you feel great.

Jen Rulon: Yeah. And you know, here’s the thing. I don’t; I am definitely not paleo, but I generally don’t eat pasta, and I will, if I do, it’s going to be a rice pasta or a quinoa pasta. But generally I will eat rice two nights before, and I just, because it doesn’t weigh me down. I don’t feel so heavy.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm, absolutely. I’m with you. I actually eat quite a bit of rice; polished rice, even, white rice because it lacks some of those anti-nutrients difficult to digest properties that are in the hull of the rice. But that’s awesome!

Jen Rulon: Yep.

6. Jen’s TEDx Talk [26:53]

Cassy Joy: Ok, So taking a slight left turn rounding out our conversation today, but you just prepared for; I felt like I was semi-with you on your adventure to prepare for this TEDx talk.

Jen Rulon: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: You know, I’ve watched; I’m one of those girls that, I can dive into a scientific journal like it is the latest thriller, and I will sit down and watch TEDx talks like it’s the latest Netflix series.

Jen Rulon: Same here.

Cassy Joy: You know? And I’m in awe of; as somebody who loves; I love public speaking, I love, I just love what thought goes into delivering such a concise presentation. And so I would love to pick your brain. I know it does not just happen overnight, preparing a talk like that.

Jen Rulon: Right.

Cassy Joy: So what was the process like? And what, I don’t need you to give the whole thing because we can pull it up, but what were some of the points you really wanted to make in that presentation?

Jen Rulon: Yeah. So, I would say it was last July, and I told the LuLuLemon crew; “you know, I want to do a TEDx talk.”

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Jen Rulon: And they were like, ok that’s a good goal. And I’m like, yeah. Well it was crazy how fast it happened, because I somehow got connected with a girl who did a TEDx talk, and so her and I were corresponding back and forth, and I picked her brain, was really what it was all about. And I asked her; “what did you start doing?” And she’s like, I just went on the website to see where the talks where. So, you know, you have the main TED talks, and those are Vancouver, I believe.

Cassy Joy: Right.

Jen Rulon: But then you have TEDx, TED women, TED Youth. And so, I started looking around. And all I started doing was sending emails. I sent a couple to; I sent one obviously to where I was chosen, that was Texas Women University. I sent one to San Antonio, I sent one to another, I think Texas Christian University. And those were the three that I sent to. And then I heard back from Texas Women’s University, and he’s like what are you looking to talk, to do your speech about? And I said women athletics and just growing up being a woman and the challenges that I’ve had as athletics.

Well the crazy thing is, is that was what I presented to them; that was not what I talked about. And a lot of people that I’ve talked to that have done TEDx talks have done that same thing. Their ideas that they want to present this, but after they write, rewrite, it has come up to a totally different thing.

So I was actually accepted to Texas Women’s University. That same weekend, San Antonio had a TEDx talk, as well, and they reached out to me and said, hey, we’re really interested in your story, can you broaden this a little bit. And so I did that; I reached out to them, and they said, no you weren’t chosen. I’m like, well that’s ok, I got chosen at Texas Women’s University. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Jen Rulon: So yeah. But I, from when I found out that I was accepted in December to March 4th, I was consumed by my TEDx talk.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Jen Rulon: Every time I ran, every time I biked, I practiced my speech. I wrote, I rewrote. There were times when I would stop on the bike and type in my Evernote about an idea that I had. I mean, my poor husband.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Jen Rulon: He heard the very beginning TED talk, and the very end TED talk. And at first I thought I was going to talk about women athletics. But what I really dove into was my Ironman journey, and why I tried so hard to seek my dad’s attention. And getting that male validation, I guess you could say, from my dad. And because here’s there thing; I grew up with a brother who played basketball, baseball, and football. And he was the star quarterback of the football team, so my dad had a connection with my brother in an instant. It’s crazy to see football connect men like that.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Jen Rulon: And then I’m over here playing base; or, I’m playing softball and volleyball and gymnastics, and doing all these sports, but not getting the attention of my dad. So then I thought; ok, well I probably need to go extreme here. Hey, let’s do an Ironman! Is really what it came down to. So I talked a little bit about that, and trying to get my dad’s attention. But then I realized that I have so many life lessons as an Ironman triathlete, so in the TED talk I gave them three live lessons. And then when I give my speeches; different speeches, I’ll do live lessons of an Ironman triathlete, and I usually come up with something that is equivalent to whom I’m speaking to.

I spoke to kids last week, and I came up with the rule on rules of the life lessons, and it’s like; respect, understanding, love, original, and never give up. So you know, I think with my TEDx talk; first of all, I learned so much of my why of doing Ironman triathlons, and what motivates me. But the cool thing is, is that I realized that I didn’t crave my dad’s approval anymore, because I found approval within myself.

Cassy Joy: Oh, Jen! That’s awesome.

Jen Rulon: Isn’t that amazing?

Cassy Joy: That is, I got chills.

Jen Rulon: Yeah, I really did. I crossed that finish line the first time, and I thought; pff. I don’t need anybody’s approval, I just did that myself. You know; and the funny thing is, I’ve done 8 more since then, but I also have different goals in mind. I’m trying to get to the Ironman triathlon world championship in Kona, and so that is one of my life lessons. Goals are adjustable. Like, ok you didn’t qualify last year. Well, let’s then try it for this year. And then if you don’t qualify for this year, then you try for next year. Things like that. So I learned so much about myself in my TEDx talk journey. Just because I wrote, rewrote, wrote, rewrote. I mean, it was crazy. You should see my Evernote. It’s just filled with TEDx talk number 5,725. {Laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Jen Rulon: And I’m sure with you writing a book, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. You know, it’s funny how that experience mirrors so much in life. And that’s something; mindset is something that we cover a lot on this show. So this is not going to be a new topic for listeners, but I think it’s an important thing to realize. Often what you see printed online, maybe it lines the bookshelves at Barnes and Noble; maybe it’s the beautifully polished TED talk that you’re watching on Netflix. Or maybe it’s someone’s career. You look at where people are, and we often don’t see or want to ignore or whatever it is all of the edits that take place in the process.

Jen Rulon: So true.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, and you know this book is kind of similar to it sounds like your adventure, but when I first started writing this book, it was something pretty different than what it is right now.

Jen Rulon: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: And I thought actually that I had a very simple vision for the book; it was just going to be a cookbook, and I was going to include kind of a brief overview of some of my food and fitness philosophies, but I wasn’t going to get into too much of the detail. Well, {laughs} hold onto your britches, guys because I am throwing every single knowledge bomb I’ve got into this book now.

Jen Rulon: That’s great.

Cassy Joy: Because while writing it, you ask yourself the question; how is this going to be useful?

Jen Rulon: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: And the answer to that question often times was; this piece of information, or this tutorial, or this explanation, is going to make it more useful. And so it’s just interesting how projects evolve over time, and sometimes it’s a very painful process.

Jen Rulon: Oh, yeah.

Cassy Joy: Sometimes it’s lovely; it can be lovely and painful in the same day, in the same hour.

Jen Rulon: Yeah, that’s so true.

Cassy Joy: You know?

Jen Rulon: I mean, there were times where I’d be, I’d just be sitting in front of my computer just crying, because I’m like; I can’t figure this out! {laughs}

Cassy Joy: That’s so funny. You know, and it also is interesting. There’s something to be said about endurance events that I love so much; and just even talking to you, Jen, makes me want to go look at the schedule and sign up for one.

Jen Rulon: How funny.

Cassy Joy: But there’s something about an endurance event. It’s a goal that has a timeline on it, and it’s going to come whether you want to or not. Right?

Jen Rulon: Right.

Cassy Joy: Some of us have goals to build our business, but there’s hardly ever a distinguishing factor. The book coming out is going to be a distinguished date and I think it’s going to be a very emotional one.

Jen Rulon: Sure.

Cassy Joy: When I am there, but there’s something about an endurance event that is just the culmination of so much effort. I remember when I crossed the finish line for my first marathon, I ran the Dallas Whiterock marathon.

Jen Rulon: Yep.

Cassy Joy: And I remember vividly mile 17 I was like, you know what, if a truck comes behind me {laughs} I would ask for a ride right about now.

Jen Rulon: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: And I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish it. Around 22 I found more energy and a better attitude, and I finished it. But I remember crossing that finish line; this man has no memory, I guarantee, of me, but I will always remember him. This sweet volunteer standing there with one of those space blankets to wrap you up, and I fall into the space blanket he had for me, and I bawled on his shoulders.

Jen Rulon: Awww!

Cassy Joy: For like a good 5 minutes. And he was just probably so weirded out. But it’s interesting, when you’re trying to figure out why am I doing this; why; what is the reason behind all this effort, all of this training, and all of this time, and the pain, and the sacrifices that I’m making for this accomplishment, and you realize once it’s done that you just did it for yourself.

Jen Rulon: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: Or maybe you don’t even need a reason.

Jen Rulon: Yeah. Yeah, and I think my ultimate favorite TED talk is Simon Sinek’s Finding Your Why. I don’t know if you’ve seen that one.

Cassy Joy: I have.

Jen Rulon: It’s fantastic. And I think; I’ll ask my athletes when I first meet with them, what is your why behind doing this race. Because here’s the thing; when it comes to Ironman triathlon training, half Ironman, you sacrifice a lot, and there are day where you do not want to train. You would rather sit on the beach, sit by the pool with a foo-foo drink. Go down the Riverwalk and hang with your friends than train. And if you can find that why behind what you’re doing, that’s just going to only help you, help the journey so much more. Like you said, I try to teach my athletes; ok, yes, you have to swim, bike, run, lift, and here’s why and this is how you're going to do it. But you also have to live a life. You have to work, you might have family, you have nutrition, you have this. There is so much outside of the physical aspects of triathlon training.

Cassy Joy: That’s brilliant. And you know, that’s really how to make it last. I changed my life and my whole fitness scheme in general 8 years ago, I guess, and the reason why it finally stuck is because I think I got to the bottom of my why.

Jen Rulon: Yes!

Cassy Joy: And I did exactly what you’re saying. I found a way to make it the way I lived.

Jen Rulon: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: You know, it wasn’t just something I was doing; it’s who I was.

Jen Rulon: Right.

Cassy Joy: So that’s awesome. Man, I could talk to you all day, Jen.

Jen Rulon: I know, we could… But I follow you on Snapchat all the time, and that’s fun.

Cassy Joy: It is fun! I feel like; I have some friends who follow me too, and I remember, I caught up with one of them recently on a phone call, and we were talking about how we don’t call each other, we hadn’t called each other for a while. She’s like; “well honestly, I follow you on Snapchat and I feel like I talk to you every day.” {laughs}

Jen Rulon: Right. {laughs} That’s so true.

7. Quick tips for getting started endurance training [40:29]

Cassy Joy: Ok, before we close I would love if you had a top two to three pieces of advice, quick fire advice for somebody who is looking to; maybe they’re going, they’ve never run more than 2 miles before, and they’d like to sign up for an endurance event. Do you have advice for somebody who is looking to really just get started and set a new goal like that?

Jen Rulon: Ooh.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Isn’t that a good question to just blindside you with? {laughs}

Jen Rulon: It is a good question. Two or three tips. Find a community that will help you out. For example, there’s a lot of running stores here in town, and I think, go to the stores and find out where you fit in. Because they offer runs every Wednesday, Friday or Sunday, Saturday. So find a community that is crazy like you.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Jen Rulon: Right? I think that’s a huge thing. And then really truly listen to your body as an athlete. Because I think when some runner’s start off, like you said they're going from 2 miles to 13 miles, or half marathon or something like that. The body is genius. It knows exactly what you need and when you need it. And if you don’t listen to what your body is telling you, then that is going to be cause for an injury or overtraining.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. That’s awesome.

Jen Rulon: So that’s my two tips.

Cassy Joy: Those are great. Those are so wonderful. I wrote down the body is genius, actually. {laughs}

Jen Rulon: It really is.

Cassy Joy: if you see that come up in a book sometime this summer.

Jen Rulon: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: Just know that you inspired it. {laughs}

Jen Rulon: Sounds good.

Cassy Joy: Oh my goodness. I’ll give you credit, I promise. That’s so funny. That’s great Jen. I think what a wealth of information you have for people. Remember everybody, you can find Jen at JenRulon.com. She’s also on all the social media platforms. If you really want to see; you know, it can be such a mystery. What does it take to be a 9 time Ironman triathlete, and what Jen has done is she’s put herself out there so you can really follow along with her journey. And, to boot, she is someone who really pays attention to the science behind the exercise physiology, the nutrition, and the importance of course of strength training, which is something that is so, so important. And you roll it all up into a wonderfully healthy lifestyle perspective.

Jen Rulon: Thank you.

Cassy Joy: In summary, I just adore you Jen, so keep rocking.

Jen Rulon: Thank you, I adore you too. I remember us sitting at; I think it’s when I first started my business and blogging; well, like you said it had to have been how many years ago? I remember us sitting and having lunch together, and just picking your brain so to say. Now it’s like, I have to pay for your time. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughing} No girl, you know you got a free all access pass. You’re grandfathered in.

Jen Rulon: Awesome! Love it.

Cassy Joy: {laughing} Ok you guys, make sure to check out Jen online. I will link up to all of her stuff in the show notes so you can find that, and a transcript of today’s show on FedandFit.com. Jen, thanks again so much for joining me, it’s been an honor.

Jen Rulon: Absolutely. Thank you; I’m very blessed to know you, and be staying friends. This is great.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, abso; oh, you won’t be able to get rid of me.

Jen Rulon: Excellent.

Cassy Joy: I’m a painfully loyal person. {laughs}

Jen Rulon: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Ok guys thanks again for joining us.

Jen Rulon: Thank you.

Cassy Joy: We will be back again next week.

   

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