Triathletes joke around about how everything gets neglected when training for an Ironman and typically cutting grass is one of the first things to get behind on. Fortunately for me, I have plenty of time to cut the grass, take care of the pool, and the other stuff that I am usually responsible for. However, I volunteered to chaperone at band camp this week like I have done the past several years and that takes three hours out of my afternoon to do things like the above. But band camp is two weeks long, and it is worth my time to watch my daughter and her group practice their way into another awesome award-winning field show. Certainly looking forward to chaperoning again this next week. Fortunately, I was able to catch up with chores on Sunday.
With the chaperoning duties to do, I did a little shuffling around with the plan to get things done.
I did my Tuesday swim on my Monday rest day. On Tuesday I got my run in on a very nice day. Wednesday was the typical bike/run brick workout that went just fine. Back to cycling on Thursday, but I pushed the swim until Friday. On Friday, I did a brief two-mile shakeout jog and then did the swim before heading to band camp. I didn’t want to overdo it because I was racing a sprint triathlon on Saturday.
Saturday was race day, and I did very well! I nabbed 2nd place in my age group and was 17th overall. You can read about it here:
After the race, my training buddies Dave and Jeff rode to Manteno to meet me after the race and then we did a group ride back home together. So cool that they came out to ride with me when they could have just ridden on their own. Although I didn’t quite get in the mileage or riding time that the plan called for, I was happy with what I accomplished.
Sunday was a long run that ended up being about 11.5 miles. I felt good on that rather warm and humid run. I got a surprise when I saw Dave’s son Alex running at me and calling my name, with Dave not too far behind. Heck, if I knew that they were still in town I would have joined them!
After that run I jumped in the pool, rehydrated, and then started catching up on my chores. First was mowing the grass, and then I did some more power washing the sidewalk that I didn’t get to a couple of weeks ago.
There’s time for training, family, and chores when training for Ironman. You just have to be resourceful.
Third time racing in Manteno and I am sure I will be back again. I have done this race two times before and it is super fun. It’s a great way to start a Saturday.
I talked with some of the great people I know from FNRC who were there to do the race, then I got my transition area set up and had Kari snap a picture and then it was time to get ready to race.
SWIM:400 Yards, 9:45, 4th in A/G, 57th Overall
I don’t bother bringing the wetsuit to transition for this race because the past two years it has been a non-wetsuit race. I found the water to be pretty warm and comfortable during the brief pre-race swim. I waited for our silver cap wave to start and then waded into the water.
Two things usually occur for me when I start a triathlon swim: I either freak out about the pace, start hyperventilating, and then pray that I will finish this swim, or I will start thinking about my bike strategy. After passing around the one turn buoy, I found myself thinking about the bike. Much better than thinking about drowning. I must have been swimming at a good pace.
I swam strong and as I sighted into the sun for the Swim Out exit, I pushed the pace a little harder. I was a little surprised that I was a little slower this year than last year, but not too bad of a swim for me.
T1: 1:07, 2nd in A/G, 29th Overall
I ran pretty quick to my bike and messed around with socks, again. This time was a little better because I used the little no-show type socks and they went on pretty quick. I felt a little under pressure because there was someone spectating by the fence watching me go through T1. Maybe they were trying to pick up pointers and learned that wearing socks on the bike is a waste of time.
BIKE: 11 Miles, 30:44, Average speed 21.5 mph, 3rd in A/G, 18th Overall
I had decided while swimming to bike as hard as I could, so I hit it hard out of the gate and quickly pegged my heart rate to the max. It wasn’t long until I realized that I better back off a little, and fortunately, there was a strong tailwind heading out aiding in my bike hard plan. My bike computer was showing 25 mph and I was like – wow, this is fast. I passed a couple of riders who were just a little slower, but a lot younger than me. Whenever I pass someone I always wonder if the gauntlet that I am throwing down will be picked up and have my face slapped with it. This time I did get passed back by these two riders just before the first turnaround before the third mile. But here’s where they ran into trouble. The first guy did this hairpin u-turn in a hard gear and struggled to get back up to speed while I had planned for that and easily passed him again. The other guy was a little more ahead of me but his issue was he was riding a road bike and we were now riding into a pretty strong headwind with me taking full advantage of being on an aero bike and riding with a full rear disc wheel. My speedometer was showing 18 mph now. I passed him and I figured if he lasted this pace he might catch me on the run because he looked pretty fit. I never saw the other guy again. This is where aero makes all the difference.
T2: 0:46, 2nd in A/G, 18th Overall
I forgot to hit my Lap button on my watch but I realized it right as I was running out with my visor and race belt in my hand. The reason I forget is mainly due to my hands being busy holding the handlebars of my bike and I would have issues if I tried messing with my watch while running with my bike. But in the end, it was one of my fastest bike-to-run transitions.
RUN:3.1 miles, 22:06, 7:07 per mile pace ave., 1st in A/G, 16th Overall
I settled into a comfortable pace and tried to keep working on catching the next runner ahead of me. Within the first half-mile, the guy that I had passed twice on the bike caught me and passed me hard. There was no way I could go at that pace. He was moving. The running was going well. At the first aid station, I grabbed a cup of water and threw it on me, which startled the little kid that handed it to me. I did manage to grab another and get a quick drink. I did the same thing at the second aid station and got a similar reaction from the teen that handed it to me. #winning
At about 2.5 miles into the 5K, I saw my nemesis – Michael B. – ahead of me. I was catching him. But at the next turn, he took a look back and saw me and then the race was on. I was slowly reeling him in, but as we passed the 3-mile mark, I had nothing left and he crossed the line four seconds ahead of me. I had spoken with him before the race and asked him if he was “going to kick my butt again.” He started in with some lame excuse about some lame running injury and I just said to keep your excuses, Mr. Soul Crusher. I wonder where I could have saved four seconds? He’s a much faster swimmer than I am, we are pretty even on the bike, and I was a minute and a half faster on the run. Then it dawned on me – socks.
Week 20 is finally over and two-thirds of the training plan is in the books. This week though – wow did it get warm.
I first noticed the heat on Friday, a 75-minute run. I do my runs smack dab in the middle of the day when I get off from work. I was seeing heat advisory warnings early in the week, and of course, I scoffed at them. The Tues./Wed./Thur. workouts were really the typical summertime heat stuff, but Friday came and I started the run with pretty warm and humid conditions. I felt pretty good for the first three miles and I was thinking I would just do an out and back on the bike trail, but when I got there it offered no shade and I was feeling the heat pretty well. I decided to head to the other forest preserve trail and make it a loop run instead, hoping that the shade would keep me cooler. It did, but the hills and humidity were starting to get to me. I ended up walking quite a bit and kept thinking about getting more water.
I finally got to the park district office and was really feeling the heat at that point. Sort of shuffling along and walking. I went in and basked in the air conditioning in the lobby for about ten minutes and refilled my water bottle with cold water and rehydrated myself. I was about a mile and a half from home and started out with a newer outlook on finishing that portion, but when my watch hit 75 minutes, I decided to walk the remaining 3/4 miles home. Glad I did.
Saturday came with a prescribed 4-hour bike ride followed by a 45-minute run. I was a little concerned about that, and decided to get up at 4:30 and hit the trail by 5:30. After making sure I had all my gels and extra water bottles, I hit the road. The skies were overcast, so I was very grateful for that. But it was still 80 degrees and humid and would get worse as the day went on. Fortunately, on the bike, you get the wind cooling you down, but I was sweating within ten minutes of the start. Two hours into the ride I did the same dumb thing I did last week and went a little bit further so that I would hit 35 miles, making the total trip 70 miles. But I knew I had been riding into the wind, so the little bit of extra riding would equal out in the end.
The tailwind was awesome and the remaining ride home was mostly enjoyable. Somewhere around the 3:15 mark things got interesting, and I was no longer worried about the weather.
First up was a flock of geese crossing the road, and they couldn’t just turn around, no, they had to walk right in front of me.
Next, my chain fell off the big ring and landed on my crank by my right shoe. I was cruising down a hill and had some good speed going, so I just figured that I would coast until I slowed down and then I would stop and fix it. But as I looked down it looked like I could reach down and grab it, so I decided to risk crashing and try to get it back on. I did it! Here’s me celebrating my achievement:
After getting the chain back on I came upon a farm tractor going down the road. Usually, 100% of the time I’m the one getting passed by a vehicle, but not this time! I was catching it and thought I had a chance to pass it. I had to wait for an oncoming car and then I made my move.
As an added bonus, up ahead was a group of cyclists waiting for the light and I could see that it was about to turn green as I approached. When it did turn green, I hit the gas and put the hammer down leaving them in my dust. That was fun!
When I got home I was feeling pretty beat, so I opted for the treadmill in the basement for a 5-mile run. I kind of felt guilty about that, but I think it was a sound decision. I would rather live for another day than suffer through a real feel temperature of 105 degrees after four hours of biking.
I rested up and rehydrated as best as I could on Saturday afternoon because I was volunteering to punch tickets for the Joan Jett and The Blackhearts concert in New Lenox that night. It was hot at the start of the event, but we had water and the temperature did come down a little as the evening progressed.
The volunteer band boosters
Sunday was supposed to bring some relief with the temperature but after breakfast and a quick look at the weather to check for possible storms, I headed out the door to find that it was still warm and humid! I planned to run 6.5 miles out for an hour and then turn around. I was sweating like crazy again! I refilled my water bottle at the turnaround and popped a salt capsule to replace the electrolytes, but I was starting to suffer. I think my critical mistake here was the sweat-fest I had the prior two days as well as not rehydrating enough before this run. I dragged my butt back and finished 12.5 miles of the 13.1 I had hoped for. Oh well, live for another day, again.
Looking ahead to the next ten weeks left of training and things are certainly going to heat up, not just with the weather but also with the intensity of the workouts. I am going to have to be more cognizant of the weather as we head into the heat of the summer and the longer bike rides and runs to come. It’s starting to heat up in more ways than one.
Training while on vacation can be challenging, mainly because you want to be doing vacation stuff instead of training stuff. But fortunately for me, my family has a lake home in northern Wisconsin that allows me the opportunity to do open water swims, and run and bike on a beautiful trail. I can’t complain about that.
The training you do during the week while training for an Ironman is pretty unremarkable, and I find that the only thing I really remember about them when Sunday comes and I write this wrap up is the Saturday long bike ride. This week’s ride took place on the Bearskin Trail in Oneida County, Wisconsin, which is an old rail-to-trail conversion path. I have used this trail for most of my rides when I am up north because it offers lots of beautiful scenery and it is awesome.
I really had to motivate myself to do this ride. I was almost mad about it, but when I got to the trail, I realized how lucky I am to have this beautiful trail available to me. The ride was to be four hours long and just like the ride I did in 2017 when training for Ironman Louisville, I got to the 2-hour turn around point I decided to go just a little longer to hit 30 miles before turning around. I was feeling great, but I was getting low on water so I decided to ride by a couple of county buildings but found no outdoor water spigots. I rode a little further and found the Nokomis Fire Department building and a firefighter let me in to refill my bottles. Very thankful for that.
As I got to the three-hour mark I started to bonk. Not sure why that happened, as I was using gels and feeling good up to that point. But I limped it home in four hours and twenty minutes. Not exactly what the plan called for. I was also very sore from riding my hybrid bike on this crushed rock trail instead of my tri bike on the road. My muscles and butt just aren’t trained and used to that bike. I also made the mistake of trying to keep my pace on that bike equivalent to what I do at home on the roads, which caused me to push my effort pretty hard, only to manage a 14 mph average speed. It felt like I was averaging 20 mph by the effort I was putting out.
When I got home I hobbled down to the lake and waded into it while my somewhat concerned family watched. It took me a little bit to recover, but after a while, I was back to normal. They say being near the water restores the soul. It did that and a whole bunch more for me this week.
This week was somewhat light for the training plan that I follow and boy was I thankful for that. July Fourth occurred this week which meant that once my daughter marched in her last Independence Day hometown parade as a high schooler we would be off to our vacation in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. So there was travel involved and vacation and hosting lots of family at our lake home. Even with all that happening I still managed to get in most of the training.
One cool thing that happened this week is that I got my new tri kit a couple of days before leaving for vacation. I chose to go with Jakroo this time around and the kits seem to be pretty decent for a lower priced product. The best things about this company was there were no minimum orders to meet, I could design the kit myself, the prices were affordable, and the turnaround was super quick. Here’s me with the tri shorts and the cycling jersey. The shorts were size Large but were a little snug. I may order an XL if I find these uncomfortable. I did one short hour long bike ride in them and they felt okay.
The weekend called for an Olympic distance race according to the plan. Although I will race a 5K or triathlon during training I’m a little hesitant to race when training for an Ironman because I don’t want to risk crashing or otherwise injuring myself and throw away all the investment I made in training and other stuff, so I just usually do them at home on my own. And being in Minocqua offered a perfect opportunity to do just that.
First Annual Minocqua Olympic Distance Race For Chris Only Race Report
Where: Minocqua, Wisconsin
Results: 1st Place Overall – WINNER!
After a good breakfast of pancakes and bacon, I donned the wetsuit and recruited Kari to kayak next to me on the swim to keep me from being run over by one of the thousand wakeboard type boats on the lake. I’m exaggerating a little, but these obnoxious boats seem to be the boat of choice by beer drinking party animals who somehow have the money to afford such an over the top boat.
The Swim: 1562 yards / 28:49 / 1:51 per 100 yds.
Fortunately for me, I was seeded in the first wave and got ahead of the pack early. The wetsuit seemed a little restrictive for some reason, but I felt good. The water was warm, but the race director said that it was a wetsuit legal race. I decided that I would swim along the shoreline for 750 yards and then turn around, not realizing that 1500 yards didn’t quite equal 1500 meters, but it was close enough. I swam pretty comfortably and was surprised to see that I averaged under 2 mins per 100 yards, which was awesome. I reached the dock and like a dummy, I hit stop instead of the lap button, but I got it fixed quickly and I was off the change into bike gear for the ride. Nice to be first out of the water!
The Bike: 24.8 miles (40K) / 1:29:36 / 16.6 mph average
I decided that I would ride Highway J west toward St. Germain and make use of the wide bike lane on the road. I’m a little nervous about being on that road but the cars were giving me plenty of room. By a half mile into riding, I was regretting riding my hybrid bike in this race and not bringing my tri bike up to ride. My butt and left leg were bothering me and to alleviate the discomfort I shifted my butt as far back on the saddle that I could. Lots of rollers on this ride but it’s not too challenging. As I got to St. Germain I was very pleased that I was right at 12.4 miles and this out and back would be a perfect 40K. The ride back was smooth and trouble-free. Glad to average 16.6 miles on this heavy old bike. I was also very glad to be the first bike back and still in first place.
T2 – 3:21
The Run – 6.2 miles / 48:36 / 7:51 pace per mile
My back was a little sore getting off the bike but loosened up quickly. As I headed down my street I debated as to which way to run but decided to stick to my original thought of running downtown to the trail and then head back. I wasn’t planning on pushing the pace on this run because I had such a huge lead, but when I got to Hwy. 51 and saw the parade of backed up cars leaving town on the only road that takes them back south I did a little peacocking and was running hard. That was a bad decision as the pancakes were starting to wear a little thin. But I paced the out and back well, hit the water fountain a couple of times, and coasted home to a first-place finish. I kind of like winning. I might make this an annual tradition.