IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING
WEEK 29 – October 2 > October 8
I typically write my weekly Ironman training wrap-up on Sunday, when all of my workouts have been completed, and share something worthwhile during the week that I find interesting in my journey toward my goal of doing a third Ironman race. Usually the long bike on Saturday or the long run on Sunday will give me something to reflect upon. But I find myself typing this on a Wednesday instead, a couple of days after another mass murder in the world involving gunfire, this time in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I have become somewhat numb to these shootings, and I believe most of the world has as well. They seem to have become routine or expected. I guess most people think that it won’t happen where they live. I also believe that I live in a pretty safe place in the world, the south suburbs of Chicago, a place where if you go a couple miles north you are certainly in the urban life, and if you travel a couple miles south you are definitely looking at cornfields. But I’m not fooling myself with that. At this writing, 58 people lost their lives in Las Vegas. The City of Chicago loses that many people in a month to gunfire. September 2017 alone registered 60 people murdered in Chicago(1). Chicago has a Las Vegas every damn month. Let that sink in.
I’m not anti-gun. I’m for protecting 2nd Amendment rights. But I’m also thinking we need much stricter gun ownership rules. I don’t even know what that entails, really. I just don’t want people to lose their minds and have access to guns and wipe out scores of people because they woke up on the wrong side of the world that day. With all the killings going on in Chicago, I have recently thought about purchasing a small handgun for protection and taking the two day concealed carry licensing course. But I haven’t done that, and may or may not. I don’t like to think about having to have to do that. I don’t want to have to get to the point where if I leave the house I have to carry a gun. I don’t want my pre-ride checklist to include water bottles, gels, a helmet, some spare tubes and a handgun.
My father grew up in Nebraska and was a farm boy, so I’m pretty sure that hunting was a common practice for him. I don’t remember my dad having guns around the house, maybe an old .22 caliber rifle that must have been in his family. Our house was on four wooded acres and my older brother Jon had shotguns and would walk the woods and the adjoining cornfields to shoot at pheasants and rabbits, and occasionally I would tag along. He gave me a gun to carry that I’m guessing he thought was perfect for me. It was an over/under type long gun, with a .22 caliber rifle on top and a .410 gauge shotgun on the bottom. I don’t remember ever shooting the dumb thing, but I do recall that it was heavy.
My friends were very avid hunters, and good at it too. I’m not anti-hunting at all, but I guess my path as a kid was more about playing wiffle ball, riding my mini-bike, and listening to rock and roll than it was about killing rabbits in the back yard. One year Jon must have thought that I was big enough now to carry a .20 gauge, and we traipsed once again through the woods. He saw some ducks swimming in the creek that ran through the property and he yelled “SHOOT THE FUCKING DUCKS!” I pulled the trigger and killed a duck. When we pulled it out of the creek we saw that this duck must have lived the high life, because he was huge. Most likely a duck that was fed pretty well by the neighbor to the north. I most likely had killed someone’s pet wild duck.
We were into taxidermy at the time, so my buddies helped me stuff that damn thing. We hung it from my ceiling like he was flying, which in all likelihood he was too damn fat to do, and likely the reason he was in essence a sitting duck to a kid who couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn from 10 feet away. That hanging duck in my bedroom kind of became my albatross around my neck, just like in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I looked at it everyday and eventually came to the conclusion that hunting may not be my thing.
After marriage and becoming a father, I just didn’t want any guns around the house. I have a valid Firearms Owners Identification card, but have never owned a gun. I work in non-sworn position in law enforcement and just maintain it in case I find myself possessing a gun for some reason. I’m a rule follower.
So how does the terrible event in Las Vegas have anything to do with training for another Ironman? Well, my group of buddies and I call our team “The Gunners”.
When we decided to do our second Ironman in 2016 in Lake Placid, New York, I thought that since there were five of us doing the race, we should have a cool team name, along with matching tri kits. But there wasn’t any theme or idea that really resonated with us until my buddy John suggested Gunners. That suggestion was made because the youngest of our group, Alex, had a habit of going full throttle in races, gunning for the win as they say. I had heard the term used in sports many times, especially in auto racing. “HE’S REALLY GUNNING FOR THE LEAD!” and stuff like that. And to be honest, I think the rest of our group was highly competitive as well. We all gun for the win. The name was bad ass. Not only did we want to be bad ass, we wanted to be GUNNERS!
I had trouble coming up with a logo, and thought about using a cannon in the design, kind of like Arsenal FC, a soccer club in London, who also went by the Gunner moniker. But I thought, maybe it should just be about the what we wanted the word to reflect, that we were highly competitive, gunning for the podium. In the end, I asked the company that we used to make our team kits if they could assist with a team logo for us, and they came up with the word Gunners in a fast looking script, with three stars above the name. They also suggested a logo having a handgun sticking out of the end of the “S”, but it looked really stupid, and it wasn’t what we were trying to express. So the Gunners logo with the three stars was our choice.
As we rapidly approach Ironman Louisville on October 15, we typically also make some t-shirts for ourselves and our family and crew of supporters that come along. My wife and I designed some cool looking shirts with the Gunner logo and the IM Louisville fleur-de-lis design similar to what they use, and ordered a few hundred dollars worth of shirts. A couple days later a crazed gunman went full gunner in his own way and mowed down 58 people and wounding scores more. What an asshole. He died too. He just got the order of who to shoot first wrong.
So now the question for me is, do I really want to plaster the word “Gunners” on my chest, and parade through 140.6 miles of Louisville, Kentucky? Not really. But yes, dammit, I do. Can I expect that people will understand the context of the word that we want it to portray, or will they look at it and say WTF? Is being a Gunner still bad ass, or just make me look like an ass? I’m not sure I have the answer to those questions. I feel like this guy stole something from me. But really, can I be upset about that when all those people in Las Vegas had their lives stolen from them? The answer to that is no.
I have a week and a few days to decide as to whether I’m going to represent the team name at Ironman Louisville. I probably will. I’m just bummed about the killings. But I know that I am a Gunner, and my teammates are Gunners, and we will all be gunning it on October 15, whether we are wearing it on our chest or not.
2 Swims – 5500 yards this week / 110250 yards total
4 Bikes – 82.5 miles this week / 10571 miles total
7 Runs – 25.5 miles this week / 980 miles
(1) -DNA Info – Chicago Murders https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2017-chicago-murders/timeline?mon=9