Pancake Run 5K, Columbus Marathon, Surf City Half Marathon CA, RAGNAR Relay AZ

Michelle Muellner – center – RAGNAR

Our athletes not only enjoyed some great race performances last weekend, but almost certainly had some of the best race outfits we’ve seen!

Pancake Run 5K
Joan McGue – 30:27 – 2nd in AG!

Columbus Marathon
Frank Smith – 4:48 – 1st in AG! This marathon was run over a one mile looped course!

Surf City ½ Marathon, CA
Melissa Wiegand – 2:27 – course PR!

Michelle Muellner (pictured, center) – team of Ultra Running Bunnies 2 – 3rd overall in the mixed masters division with a time of 33:53!

She Power Half Marathon

Sunrise swim lesson – McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center

We want to give a shout out to Melissa Wiegand who ran the She Power ½ Marathon last weekend in Chandler. Melissa finished in 2:34. Her next race is the Huntington Beach ½ this weekend!

Good luck to everyone racing the Pancake Runs this weekend!

And finally, here’s a nice sunrise photo from a swim lesson at MMR. One of the perks of being a swim coach!

Endurance Exchange, Tempe, AZ

I enjoyed attending the Endurance Exchange held this last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. A triathlon summit, of sorts, which included professional coaching seminars, like what we used to have at the Art and Science of Triathlon International Coaching Symposium. Presenters included Boston Marathon director, Dave McGillivray, along with former head nutritionist for Team Sky, Dr. James Morton.

One interesting tidbit from Dr. Morton’s presentation, The Carbohydrate Paradox, was Team Sky’s practice of “sleep low/train low.” Meaning, go to sleep low on carbohydrates (not eating carbs at dinner, for example), and then not eating carbs before the next morning’s training. We learned about AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase), an “energy switch,” if you will, that controls cell growth, among other processes, and even promotes mitochondrial health. In a low-carb state, this AMPK switch turns on sooner, instructing the muscles in ways such that the muscle becomes “better trained.” Basically, a better muscular adaptation to stress is achieved in this low carb state.

Dr. James Morton

However, this doesn’t negate the need for carbs to finish long rides (like the 6-hour variety), where the Team Sky riders might use water for 3 hours and then go to carbs) or to finish high intensity training. It’s a periodization of sorts that changes daily, but it seems like they’re on to something!

Overall, an interesting 3 days to be sure!

Dean Sowards . . . A kick-ass inspiration

Dean Sowards – IMAZ 2017

When I posted our weekly race results yesterday, I included a photo of one of our athletes, Dean Sowards, who completed the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon last weekend. If you read the post, either on Facebook or our website, there’s a good chance you glossed right over his results. He finished in 6:56. And yet, he was by far, the most impressive finisher of the day

Dean is battling Stage 4 cancer.

He was diagnosed in 2015, and up until that day, he’d never really been sick a day in his life. He took hormone and radiation therapy for about two years and was considered cured.

In 2017, he wanted to do something epic during remission. He decided he wanted to become an Ironman. He bought a bike and a wetsuit and completed AZ 70.3 and IMAZ.

Dean and son, Peter, Coeur d’Alene 70.3 2018


In August of 2018, after experiencing “phantom” leg pains, his therapist ordered an MRI. The cancer was back. It had metastasized and spread to more than a dozen spots in his body. He was given 24 – 36 months to live.




Dean and friend, Scott Chaffin – Rock ‘n’ Roll 2019 (just after finishing chemo treatments)


He started chemo in September of 2018 and continued through January of 2019.

Dean and I met just after the 2019 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, when he came to me for swim help. He’d DNF’d his four previous swims due to anxiety and what he thought was poor technique. We did our lessons and wow! He went on to complete three half Ironman swims and three full Ironman swims in 2019.



Dean Sowards IM Santa Rosa 2019

Cancer-related kidney issues hampered his training in 2019 (he didn’t train at all the last half of 2019), but that didn’t stop him from participating in three full Ironmans – Santa Rosa, Florida, and Arizona. He didn’t complete these races, but he did finish the swim and bike on all courses.

Dean and family IMAZ 2019



He is not slowing down in 2020. He just finished Rock ‘n’ Roll, and next, he’ll be toeing the line at Oceanside 70.3, Escape from Alcatraz, IM Canada (with his son!), IMFL and IMAZ.

IM Canada is being held exactly 24 months from the date he was given 24-36 months to live.


Dean and best support group EVER! Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2020

Currently, he’s combatting new lesions as they occur. He underwent surgery in December to fuse and kill new cancer lesions in his L5. And they’re trying to figure out how to deal with spots in his hip and scapula. Dean has full body scans every 90 days and is always meeting with his team to devise new battle plans.



Dean’s support system is second to none. His family, his friends, the T-SHIRTS!











Bill is excited to be stepping in to write Dean’s training plans this year and we can’t wait to see what he’ll do. He inspires us daily, and we’re hopeful that in relaying his story, perhaps you will be inspired, too!

Rock and Roll Marathon, AZ, Daufuskie Marathon, SC

Dean Sowards – Rock and Roll Marathon AZ Jan 2020

The 2020 race season is off and running! Last weekend’s Rock and Roll races are generally considered the kick-off to our racing year here in the SW. Congratulations to everyone who raced!

Rock and Roll Marathon

Dean Sowards (pictured) – 6:56

Rock and Roll ½ Marathon

Nanci Walker – 2:10
Scott Wiegand – 2:37
Mike Haenel – 1:58
Melissa Samuelson – 1:53
Michelle Muellner – 3:09

Daufuskie Marathon, SC

Frank Smith keeps his monthly marathon streak alive with a nice 4:55 and 2nd in his AG!

Palm Springs 70.3, Hillsborough River Trail Marathon, FL, Kiawah Island Marathon, Scottsdale Half Marathon, Hot Chocolate 5K, Anthem Sprint Tri

Happy holidays, everyone!
Catching up on some GREAT race performances over the last couple of weeks. Congratulations to all our athletes!
Palm Springs 70.3
Mike Haenel – 6:30
Hillsborough River Trail Marathon, FL
Frank Smith – 5:21
Kiawah Island Marathon
Frank Smith – 4:41 – 9th in AG!
Scottsdale ½ Marathon
Kathy Stanley – 1:53 – 5th in AG!
Jodi Ehrlich – 1:55
Hot Chocolate 15K
Melissa Wiegand – 1:34 PR!
Scott Wiegand – 1:38 PR!
Melissa Samuelson – 1:17 – 7th in AG!
Anthem Sprint Tri
Cortney Ellish (pictured) – 1:15 – 1st in AG!

Ironman Arizona

Shashani Marcus – Ironman Arizona

Another year of IMAZ has come and gone. It’s hard to believe that we’ve seen 16 of these! As usual, there was no shortage of inspiring moments and lots of positive energy! The human spirit is capable of so much!

Congratulations to our 2019 IMAZ finishers!

Terry Crowley – 15:56 – 1st IM!
Amy Engel – 16:36 – 10th IM!
Jenifer Garner – 14:53 – 17th IM!
Shashani Marcus – 15:42 – 1st IM!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and look forward to a great winter season of cool running weather!

USAT Draft Legal National Championship, Tempe 5K, Charlotte Marathon

Photo by Nils Nilson

Great results from last weekend!

Tempe 5K
Scott Wiegand – 30:34 – PR!

Charlotte Marathon
Frank Smith – 4:43 – 13th in AG!

Draft Legal National Championship
David Hay – 1:26 – 6th in AG

Good luck to everyone racing Ironman Arizona this weekend! The weather looks perfect! Stay positive and keep moving no matter what!!! Have fun and we look forward to cheering you on!!