Granted, I’m a pretty moody SOB to begin with, but this week I was in a funk. After training for four Ironman events, I should know by now that come about this time during training that I can get moody. Week 25 in my thirty-week training plan is usually when I am sick of the training and just want to get it over with. I’m not alone in that, plenty of triathletes get that way judging from the posts I read on Facebook this week.
It started last week really when I had sort of a rough Saturday long ride and run workout. It wasn’t bad, but I felt like it wore me out more than it should have and that I should have my hydration and nutrition better dialed in by now.
Then on Wednesday, I realized it was the 40th anniversary of my father’s passing. I spent some time reflecting on that for some reason. Truthfully, I don’t really remember mourning his passing when I was 15 years old and usually, the day passes by without me even noticing. But I did remember this week and got reflective about it.
The following day I had a work event in the evening that I wasn’t really excited about doing. The event was just not my thing, but I went and realized that I was silly to feel the way I did. My coworkers appreciated my effort even though I was in a mood, and I realized the people there were fighting things in life that I had no idea about. I’ve written about attitude before and reminded myself about being more understanding and appreciative of others and their personal battles.
But on Friday I had a good day. The weather got cool – temps in the ’70s for late August made for a great 1.5-hour run. Saturday was also beautiful. My 5.5-hour bike ride was awesome. I dialed back the effort a little and found that I didn’t wear myself out as much as I usually do. I think if I plan to ride about 17mph in the race it will be a good tempo to leave me feeling good for the marathon. I never felt dehydrated or without energy, and the hour-long run afterward went great. Sunday was another great weather day and the 16.5 miles of my 2.5-hour run seemed to float by.
The weather certainly made a huge difference in my attitude. I am really hoping this trend continues to race day. A great day will make for a much better mood for me. Five more weeks of training and I am now kind of looking forward to it.
I was expecting to get back on track this week with very little deviance from the plan after swapping the past two weeks of training around and making a concession here and there. But life sometimes throws you a curveball or two.
I’m getting really tired of having nipples.
It was a nice day, somewhat cooler than the past few and I only had an hour-long run to do, so I skipped covering my nipples. Big mistake. One got chaffed and started bleeding halfway through the run. Why do men have nipples anyway? It’s not like we use them for anything. They aren’t even that interesting in my opinion. But if you are a male runner that isn’t rail-thin, you are bound to one day experience the dreaded bleeding nipple. After thirty-plus years of running, you would think that they would have calloused over by now, or somehow adapted so they don’t get chafed. But sadly no. So I guess I will start covering them with Bandaids for every run, so buy some stock now.
Ashley’s back at Valpo for one last year!
Ashley may not have been excited about returning to Valpo for one final year, but it’s only one more year! Check-in at the apartment where she stays was on Saturday, so that meant if I wanted to help move her in I needed to somehow get my important Saturday long bike in, so I moved the Sunday two-hour and 15-minute run to Friday to free up Sunday for the bike. Doing the long run on Friday meant I would have to try to make up Friday’s normal run another day. Yeah, it didn’t happen.
Why can’t summer storms come in the middle of the week?
I had moved my Saturday long ride to Sunday so I could have Saturday free and what happened? It decided to storm like crazy Sunday morning. I had planned to be out on the bike before 8 am but with the heavy rain and lightning, I waited until the radar showed that it was past. I hit the road at 10 am and was amazed by how much water had poured on us. I was soaked from the waist down from just riding through the puddles and the standing water on the roadway. I explored a little on the ride to avoid the bike trail because when the leaves and junk on the trail get wet things get a little scary. Thankfully though the ride went smooth, I had no wind going out and a tailwind coming back, and I stayed on top of my hydration and nutrition today. I only felt a little low on energy getting back home, but as I switched to my running shoes for the hour-long run, I downed a Gatorade and the run went well.
Hello Saddle Sore, My Old Friend (with apologies to Simon & Garfunkel)
Hello saddle sore, my old friend
It’s not nice to see you once again
Because you are literally a big pain in the ass
And it’ll take you at least a month to pass
And the cries of my pain could be heard along the road I ride
Thanks to you, you damn saddle sore.
What’s the deal with saddle sores? I use the butt cream. I use Body Glide. I make sure that anything that can chafe will get some attention. But this past couple of weeks the damn saddle sore I always get from riding showed up again. It is actually bothering me just sitting on this cushy chair right now. And don’t mistake it for a zit, because it is definitely not a zit. Matter of fact if you try to squeeze that sucker, it’s going to let you know that he’s the Captain now. Touching it hurts!!! So I generally will just coat it with some Neosporin and a Bandaid (again, buy some stock now!) and let it be. Some day when this Ironman race is over it will go away because I can guarantee that I won’t be letting my butt sit on that bike again until next year.
Last week my training buddies and I opted to switch training Weeks 22 and 23 so that we could do Week 23’s long ride together. So this week I went back to Week 22 in the Be Iron Fit training plan and did the work. Week 22 is sort of an easier week ending in a half Iron distance race, which I always do on my own instead of opting for an actual race. I am a little afraid that racing against a thousand or more other athletes could lead to an accident or other injuries that could jeopardize all of the work I have been putting in up to this point. I just prefer to tackle it on my own.
Last time I did this workout was in 2017, leading up to Ironman Louisville. I had a pretty decent day that day and had a good swim and bike. It was the run that beat me. I ended up having to cut it short and get an unofficial DNF (did not finish) to my one-man race. That day I got beat. You can read that recap here: It Beat Me
I was determined to do this one a little smarter and not suffer like I did in 2017. I looked at the weather and saw that Sunday had some rain forecasted, so I opted to do the practice race a day earlier. Saturday started out beautiful. The temperature was in the 60’s, it was overcast, and there was no wind or breeze to speak of. I jumped into the pool and got going.
I swam pretty strong, pushing myself harder than I usually do. Since my watch won’t read correctly in my pool, I just based my distance on what I have done in actual half Iron distance swims in the past. I swam for 40 minutes and then got out and prepped myself for the bike.
After reapplying Body Glide in the usual locations and fiddling with my bike and gizmos, I hopped on and hit the road. I hadn’t ridden west to Elwood in several weeks, so I decided to go that route. I knew that I would probably have to add on some extra miles, and when I got to the cemetery out there and after I looped through it once my odometer showed about 25 miles. I needed an additional 6 miles or so. I decided to explore a little and added a quick extra three miles on a nearby road or two, then started heading back.
I was keeping track of my sweating and with a couple of nature stops, I was pretty sure that I was doing pretty good with keeping on top of my hydration and fueling. I was fortunate to not have really any wind heading out and I seemed to pick up a tailwind as I was heading back, which was really rare for me. I was moving along well.
This doggo provided some entertainment toward the last third of the ride.
At about 47 miles into riding, I saw another rider coming up on a side road and eventually passed me. I could tell he was on a mission to pass me and make it known that he was Top Dog on this road. I started studying him a little – he seemed like a typical cyclist, who liked to climb out of the saddle (which I hardly ever do) and had a nice Willier bike. He was pulling away going up a slight uphill, but when we started the downhill after cresting, I pulled him back in thanks to being more aerodynamic than he was. He kept looking over his shoulder and finally slowed down and let me catch him. We chatted a little bit and he turned off on another road and I went straight toward home.
Upon getting home, I was pretty close to hitting that 56 mile ride on the nose. I ended up with an additional .75 miles due to overestimating a second out and back of about 3 miles. I came inside, downed a Gatorade, toweled myself off, switched to a running singlet, grabbed my running stuff and hit the trail.
I felt pretty good heading out until I didn’t. My route starts and ends with hills. The middle is all flat, but it was sunny now and getting warm. I was sweating a lot and with only one water bottle, I was being a little too miserly with drinking. Fortunately, I was heading toward Frankfort where I could refill my water. But I was now running on fumes. I had been consistent with eating my gels and taking a salt capsule, but the day was certainly starting to become very much like the last time I did it in 2017. But I refused to let it beat me. I started walking more, sought out more shade when I could, and just kept moving forward. The plan was to be under 2 hours for this run, but I thought early on that that was an ambitious goal. I ended up getting back home in 2:09. That’s probably pretty close to Ironman run race pace, so not quite what I wanted for a half Iron distance race pace, but more in line with what to expect in seven weeks.
I spent some time in the pool to cool off, downed a couple Gatorades, started shivering and ended up taking a 20-minute hot shower to warm me back up. I got out of the shower and jumped into bed and napped for a little bit. I was actually feeling a little worse than I did after last week’s 5-hour group ride. This was not how I expected the day to end, especially after having a really good swim and bike. Now I know not to hammer the bike too hard and to drink more. Lots more.
I was determined to not be beaten like I was in 2017, and I wasn’t. But it wasn’t pretty either. I have seven more weeks to dial this in.
We pulled the old switcharoo with the plan when Dave advised that Alex would be in town this weekend, so the training plan for this week was swapped with the one for next week.
The weather was pretty great this week, often just barely getting into the low 80’s, but it gradually climbed through the week and was pretty warm on Saturday and Sunday. I was glad for the cooler temps as I was volunteering for a second week at the high school band camp. Our band no longer goes to an actual camp, but rather opts to stay at the school and learn the competitive show for the fall season without the distractions of being away from home. Camp was a success, and I was still able to get in my workouts.
On Saturday I drove out to Dixon to meet with Dave and Alex and we started our ride around 8:30 am. I like riding out there with them as it provides a different type of riding and scenery. Dave says the same thing when he joins me on my routes.
The plan was to ride out for 2.5 hours and back. At the three hour mark, we stopped at the town of Lanark and filled up our water bottles for the remaining two-hour ride back.
Alex and I goofed around while we waited for Dave to fill his bottles numerous times.
I was glad for that little break and we hit the road to head back. Not much longer after that Alex started getting a little nauseated, and truthfully, I was getting dehydrated on this warm upper 80 degree day. We kept at it but by the time we got back, we were beat.
Alex did about 10 minutes of the 45-minute brick run, but I summoned some extra will and joined Dave for 4.5 miles of post-ride running. I was glad we got it done, but I was bonked. It took a while to rehydrate but after a shower and some refueling at the local Subway, I was feeling better again.
I spent the drive home and the evening thinking about skipping the two hour Sunday run, but I woke up and decided to hit the trail. I felt pretty good, got in 12.5 miles at an easy Z2 pace, and patted myself on my back for not bailing on the run. Sometimes you want to quit on a workout, and this one would have been excusable in my mind, but when you pull on the shoes and get out there it really builds your character. I didn’t quit on myself, and when the hard part of the training and the race comes, I will remember that.