2016 IMLP Training – Week 13

WEEK 13 – March 21, 2016 – March 27, 2016

I have trained for and completed one other Ironman race, and that one was Ironman Wisconsin. From my researching race reports for Ironman Lake Placid, I am finding a lot of similarities between the two races. Both are well liked and have a strong following. Both races always sell out quickly, although not quite as fast as in recent past years mainly due to a lack of a pro field and the additions of a handful of new Ironman locations taking some of the devotes away. They both also offer a challenging bike course, and each comparing the atmosphere of the bike routes to that of the Tour de France. The volunteers at both are reportedly awesome. And both are favorites of the voice of Ironman – Mike Reilly. He tends to never miss Madison or Lake Placid. Lastly, both boast of awesome finishes, with IMWI having the state capital building in the background and IMLP finishing on the 1932 Olympic oval.

My two buddies and me at the finish line of IMWI a couple of days before the race in 2013.

But there is one main difference between the two races: the swim. IMWI has always been an in water, mass start. IMLP has changed to a self-seeded start. I can only guess, but I think the size of Mirror Lake at IMLP is somewhat smaller than Lake Monona in Madison, and therefore due to the swim-start initiative that the World Triathlon Corporation has implemented, IMLP moved to a self-seeded, wave start of the two loop course.

I participated at Ironman Muncie 70.3 in 2014, which was a wave start based on age groupings and I found that to be a great swim. The swimmers were spread out well over the 1.2 mile swim, and I chose to swim the inside line of the buoys and had very little contact with other swimmers. I was hoping that IMLP will be very similar.

Then I read the some IMLP race reports from 2015. Many of the authors reported that the swim was “tough,” or “brutal.” Not what I was hoping to read. But I think a good many of those people are strong swimmers, hoping to be 1:15 or quicker, and found that they were swimming among swimmers that possibly self-seeded themselves a little too strongly. I will not make that mistake.

I asked a swimmer from the 2016 IMLP Facebook page what his recommendation for the swim start for a guy like me (slow and dreading the swim). Others pitched in with their comments as well. Most said to seed yourself according to your expected time and be truthful (no problem there!), and to stay wide of the underwater cable or stay to the inside of the buoys. Either of those options were what I was planning anyway. As far as the cable is concerned, it is an underwater cable that lays out the course for the swim. Since Mirror Lake is very clear, it is an easily visible guideline and allows swimmers to swim without having to sight their way out of the water. I think my plan will be to watch where others are swimming and when I get into the water at the start, look for a clear line of swimming, even if it means that I swim a little out of my way. Finishing IMWI’s swim in 1:30 should allow me ample time to swim the two loops at IMLP and not get pummeled.

Anyway, it is way too early to be worrying about the swim in the race. I’ve got things that need to be taken care of before even toeing the line in late July.

This past week went well, but I only got one swim of 3000 yards in due to the school where I swim being closed for and early release on Thursday, closed on Good Friday, and closed for an entire week next week for spring break. I’m sure it shouldn’t be an issue. I missed an entire week of swimming and cycling in 2013 training for IMWI, and had no trouble getting prepared.

The weather was a little better this week, although we are heading into the spring with its out of nowhere storms, and up and down temps. Hopefully soon we will start seeing steady warmer temps. I am looking forward to warmer weather so I can open my own pool and not miss anymore swims.


Swims: 1 total, 1 hours, 3000 yards

Bikes: 4 total, 5:20 hours, 83 miles

Runs: 7 total, 4:25 hours, 31 miles

On to Week 14!

2016 IMLP Training – Week 12

WEEK 12 – March 14, 2016 – March 20, 2016

My ‘What do I do now?’ moment came this week on Tuesday, when with swim backpack slung over my shoulder I trotted into the school office to tell them as usual that I was there to swim and get my hall pass.  What I was told was that there would be no swimming today because the students were testing.  My brain pretty much went off track at that moment.

What was really happening was that I was trying to process too many things after hearing her comment.  My first thought was that I had already missed last Friday’s swim because the school was closed for a teacher institute day, and now I was missing another.  How much was this going to set me back?  I looked at the other lady who usually checks me in and she briefly made eye contact, but I could tell I wasn’t going to be able to appeal to a higher authority.  So I basically stood there in front of two grown women looking like I had just missed the bus for the field trip or something.

There are currently four high schools in our district, each with a pool.  So I took a ride over to East where my daughter goes to school, and would try my luck with them.  As I drove up to the driveway there were cars lined out to the street.  I had forgotten that it was election day.  Even if the pool was open, and the odds were against me because the schools all seem to do the same thing, I wasn’t going to find a spot to park any way.  So that ended my attempt at getting in the water for the day.  I can’t wait until May when I get my own pool opened up.  Sure it’s a lot of turning around, but it’s also so much easier.

Another issue was my rear tire on my road bike.  As I was getting ready for last week’s long ride on Saturday, I thought I would check the air pressure and top it off.  But as I turned the little knurled knob it broke off in my hand.  So much for putting in some air.

As I look back on those two relatively minor issues, I am reminded that sometimes things in training will throw you a curve.  Thankfully, training will prepare you for those little unforeseen issues so that you can deal with them on race day when it really matters.  So, bring it on, training snafus!  I am ready for you.

A cycling note from this week – Enjoyed another long Saturday ride with my friend Todd.  We headed west on the Old Plank Trail to the end and he asked if I’d like to ride through the backroads to get on the Waubonsie Glacier Trail.  I had always thought of trying to find it, but you have to ride in some pretty hairy looking neighborhoods of Joliet to get there.  We decided it was too cold to worry about thugs taking our bikes, and that there was safety in numbers, so off we went.  In reality it was only about a mile or so of riding until we hit the trail, and that trail was only about 3 miles in length until we were back to familiar riding territory.  From there we rode a little on the crushed limestone path until we hit Baker Road, and then scooted back east on the north end of Manhattan.  It was a cold ride, and it started to sprinkle near the end of the 2.5 hours, but we survived.  Sure is nice having a riding partner sometimes.


Swims: 2 total, 2:07 hours, 6000 yards

Bikes: 4 total, 4:45 hours, 73.25 miles

Runs: 7 total, 3:45 hours, 26.25 miles

Week 12 ended with the 1st day of Spring!  Yes!



2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 11

WEEK 11 – March 7, 2016 – March 13, 2016

I dove into the build phase of the Be Iron Fit training program this week with a little dread, fearing the new swims in the plan somewhat.  The swim training got boosted to 3000 yards per swim this week, up 500 yards per week from the previous first ten weeks of training.  Fink also added an extra swim on Fridays for a total of three per week and a whopping 9000 total yards.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) for me, I missed the Friday swim because the local high schools had a teacher institute day and the pool was closed.  Oh, darn.

Speaking of the swim, I am always perplexed at how my bladder reacts to swimming.  I know exactly when 35 minutes of swimming has passed without even having looked at my watch.  I will have to get out at 35 minutes and head to the locker room for a potty break.  Now before you say anything, I know people pee in the pool.  But I refuse to be one of those people.  After that first trip to the toilet, I will be making a return trip about every 15 minutes.  I really don’t understand why that is.  I generally avoid hyrdating on days I swim, and I don’t bring a bottle of water with me to the pool.  Maybe I am absorbing it through my skin like some sort of aquaman.  That seems like a stretch.  I never see any other triathletes complaining about this issue.  Maybe they are pool pee-ers.  That’s not a stretch – some pee themselves on the bike.

Lots of good riding and running outdoors this week.  I was thinking of maybe bringing my tri bike up from the basement where I ride on the trainer, and put my road bike down there instead.  I don’t usually ride the tri bike outside in early winter to avoid getting it all dirty from the salted roads.  I will need to swap my wheels out and put my aero wheels on.  I am looking forward to picking up some speed on that mph average.  The weather was awesome for mid-March, but another little cold snap is coming.  Even though it looks like we broke winter’s hold, the brief warm-up might have been an early blessing.

One of my training friends had an issue with his tri bike, breaking his rear derailleur hanger, making it unrideable.  Fortunately that is an easy fix, and he also has a nice road bike to ride in its place until it gets fixed.  It sure did drive home the need to be careful when loading and riding these bikes.  It also helps to know how to diagnose the problem and possibly have extra parts on hand to fix issues like that in case they pop up.  I was glad to help him figure out the problem and put him back on track.

A rain filled week has been forecasted for us this upcoming week.  Hopefully I can get outside for the long stuff on the weekend.

Week 11 wasn’t so bad.  Bring on Week 12!



Swims: 2 total, 2:10 hours, 6000 yards

Bikes: 4 total, 5:22 hours, 87 miles

Runs: 7 total, 5 hours, 35 miles

2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 10

WEEK 10 – February 29, 2016 – March 6, 2016

The end of Week 10 marks the end of the base phase of the Be Iron Fit Ironman training plan.  It really seems to drag along until – boom – 1/3 of the training plan is done.   The base phase is intended to get you prepared for what is to come, and it certainly did it’s job. Nothing was really too difficult to handle, and the genius of Fink’s plan certainly gets you well prepared for Ironman.

Ten weeks of base phase totals up to the following:

  • SWIMS – 18 total (I missed two in Wk 1), 18 total hours, 45,000 total yards
  • BIKES – 30 total, 34.5 total hours, 513 total miles
  • RUNS – 70 total, 40.5 total hours, 301 total miles

This week’s roundup was definitely the longest of what I did for the first ten weeks.  The swims didn’t change at all through Weeks 1-10, with all workouts being 2500 yards in length and twice weekly.  The bike ended with a plan topping 3 hour ride.  And the run maxed out at 1.5 hours this week.  Both of the long efforts on the weekend were good hints at what is to come.

The best part of the week was riding with a fellow Gunner.  We rode from my house in Mokena, south and west to Elwood, into a strong wind.  So happy to have it at our backs on the way home.  I certainly hope there are more group rides to come!

Two GUNNERS enjoying 45 miles of misery together!



Swims: 2 total, 1.75 hours, 5000 yards

Bikes: 3 total, 5 hours, 73 miles

Runs: 7 total, 4.8 hours, 34 miles

Week 10 and the Base Phase is over!!!