2016 ET Batavia Triathlon Race Report

Lessons learned, lessons to relearn…

The Experience Triathlon club puts on a good event, and I enjoy racing at the Batavia Triathlon.  So I signed up back in March, and set my alarm for 3:40am in order to drive the 45 minutes to Batavia for the 6:30am start on June 12, 2016.

After a very hot Saturday, Sunday race day was blessed with a nice and cool upper 60’s degree morning.  Matter of fact, the water temperature of the quarry where the swim takes place was 74.5 degrees and warmer than the air temperature.  During the period for swim warm-up, I went to the water and waded in up to my knees.  Still felt cold for me, but as I stood there I could tell it wasn’t too bad.  I was on the fence about swimming without my wetsuit, but I saw many others putting their’s on, so I somewhat reluctantly pulled mine out of the bag and tried to wrestle it on.

I got in line around the quarry to prepare for the staggered time trial start and realized that I needed to set my new triathlon watch to the multi-sport setting.  Only I didn’t know how.  I knew I had seen it before, and how could one of the most triathlon dominate sports watches not have that function.  I must of pushed fifty different combination of buttons until I realized that I had to go Settings.  No kidding.  Unlearned Lesson #1:  Make sure to have a good understanding of your new device before using it in a race.

I was also thinking how to approach the swim.  Last time I did the race the swim did not go well.  I figured since I was a newly minted Ironman, I would just go all out for the 400 yards or so, and rock it.  I was hyperventilating by the first turn.  This time I forced myself to not run into the water and to really hold back.  It worked!  I swam really efficiently and got through the two lap swim actually swimming.  I say actually swimming because on the backside of the swim the water is very shallow and most will stand and walk that portion.  That’s what I HAD to do last time.  Not this time.  Lesson learned.

After exiting the swim area, I found a grassy area where I decided that I would shed my tri suit.  It came off very easily this time.  I really didn’t lose much time wrangling with the dumb thing.  Off to the bike and grab my bike gear.  Pretty smooth through that too.  When I got to the bike mount line is when the wheels came off – almost literally.  When I was driving in I could see that it was pretty breezy out, so I decided to remove the full disc wheel that I had put on the night before and replace it with my FLO 60 aero wheel.  Apparently I neglected to get the gears right and the bike was not liking me trying to peddle it that way.  People were looking at me.  It finally clicked into the correct gear and off I sped.  Unlearned Lesson #2:  Avoid a total newbie move and make sure that your bike is ready to ride right out of T1.

The wind was from the east and man did it make for a fast ride.  I was hitting 25mph easily and passing tons of riders.  I think I maxed out at one point at 32mph.  About a half mile out of T1 I realized that I didn’t know if I needed to push the Lap button on my watch, so I pushed it.  And then pushed it again.  After reviewing my watch activity it appears most of my ride was considered a transition.  Oops.  It was also then that I glanced down at my bike computer and realized it wasn’t on.  I got it on and it searched and found the satellites quickly, but I had forgotten to reset it from Saturday.  So I was essentially starting out with 85 miles on the odometer.  I reset it and reminded myself to get my head in the game.  Unlearned Lesson #3:  See Unlearned Lesson #2.

Here’s a link to my Garmin Connect race activity:  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1209927507

Only one faster rider passed me on the ride, a tall strong looking guy.  I was doing 25 or so and he was faster.  I figured I would get him on the run.  But that was it.  Nobody else passed me on the ride.  I had a GU early on the ride and another at the back end to help fuel the run.  Heading back in was tough as it was a double whammy of some uphills and the wind in my face.  But back into town provided some wind buffer and soon I was whipping around the turns and pulling into T2.

The bike to run transition was smooth as silk.  I repeated to myself out loud that I needed my shoes, my visor, my bib belt and off I ran to Run Out.  Just before getting there I forgot one thing – I had arm warmers on for the ride that I forgot to take off, so I decided at the last minute to toss them in transition just before the exit and figured I would pick them up after the race.

I forgot to hit the lap button again, and truthfully I was pushing it not knowing if I was supposed to, but I remembered about a tenth of a mile into the run.  I really just wanted to know my pace, which at that time was a 6:33 mile.  Now I didn’t want to know!  Not sure how I planned to hold that pace, but I kept it up for about 3.5 miles of the run.  The run was different this year as we went south on the trail instead of heading north.  This made for some crazy crowded trail.  Not only was there runners running in both directions, but there was some sort of bike event going on locally, so that added some crazy to the whole thing.  But as I kept charging ahead I realized I was passing a ton of triathletes.  I did not get passed by anyone during the run.  I just kept picking off one runner and the next.  I paid attention to the age group markings on the calves of the runners and found I was passing a lot of my age group peers, which made me feel great.

At the 3.5 mile mark there was some switchback type turns and a little hill and bridge that kind of took the wind out of me and slowed me down.  But I knew that I basically had a half mile to go and the race was ahead of me and not behind me.  I finished strong into the finishing chute for an unofficial watch time of 1:18:21.  This is a 6 minute PR over my 2014 time!  I was shocked.  Learned Lesson #2:  Know the course well and trusting your running ability.  Always bet on the runner!

The hard part was post race, being slightly wet on a cool morning – I was uncomfortable.  There was quite a wait for the final finishers to wrap up their races, so I ate some banana, pizza, a cookie and downed another water bottle.  I approached the tent where the timing guys were hanging out and was told they would be posted soon.  About an hour later (!), they posted them.  I waited in line to get a look and found my name on the first page, and learned that I had finished 3rd in the M50-54 age group!  This race was a USAT Nationals Age Group Qualifier, so by finishing 3rd I should be qualified!  I may not be able to go to it, but it is always nice to know that I had qualified.  Now I had to wait until the end to get my award.

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As I type this, I realized she gave me the wrong award.  Oh well, I did actually get 3rd in the M50-54 according to the results.  And the guy did call my name.  The girl passing out the awards was in the F50-54 and had just won an award herself.  I think she was distracted.

I knew that transition was going to close at 11:30am, so I jogged the mile back to transition.  All of my stuff was there thankfully, even though the place was mostly cleared out.  I grabbed my bag and went into the lockers and took a shower because I was starting to get rank.  I packed up my stuff and walked back to the car.  I was 5 miles or so away when I realized that my favorite pair of arm warmers were still laying in transition by the Run Out.  Unlearned Lesson #3:  Don’t ever say to yourself that “I’ll remember” to go back and do something!  Now I am out my favorite pair of arm warmers.

So, to sum up the race itself I would say that packet pick-up was a waste of an afternoon driving to Geneva on Friday to get a bib and two stickers, a shirt and a swim cap.  Next time use the morning pick-up, I was there in plenty of time to get it.  Also, the new run course finishing at the Batavia VFW was way too crowded and busy for the racers, and the finish was way too far from transition.  Hopefully they will get some negative feedback on that and move it back to finishing downtown.  And if I do finish and get an A/G award, head back to transition, take a shower, pack up all of your junk and then go back to the awards.  There will be plenty of time.

Good race, nice day.  I’ll be back.  That’s a lesson that I have learned.

http://results.bataviatriathlon.org.s3.amazonaws.com/2016/triathlon.html

 

2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 24

WEEK 24 – June 6, 2016 – June 12, 2016

A day by day account –

Monday:  Rest day.  But I did 2 miles of running to satisfy the running streak.  It now stands at about 1.5 years of running at least a mile every day!

Tuesday:  I finally got into a pool!  I ended up going to the YMCA off of Briggs Street in Joliet and used their pool.  It cost me $15 for a day pass!  I spent the 3000 yards swimming calculating how much each 100 yard segment cost me (50 cents/100 yards, if you must know).  Overall, I felt pretty good for missing two weeks worth of swim training, but I did notice a little fading in the end.  A seven mile run finished off Tuesday.  I was aiming for the planned 1:15 run, but I saw a friend in the forest preserve and she is running her first marathon in the fall.  I chose to walk a couple of miles and talk running with her.

Wednesday:  Bike/Run brick day.  Nothing out of the ordinary in this workout.  The bike did increase by 15 minutes.  Nice of Don Fink to throw that into the plan.

Thursday:  1.5 hour bike ride on the trainer and followed with 1 mile on the treadmill.  We had a little rain on Thursday.

Friday:  A hot day for an afternoon run.  Managed 10.5 miles in 1:33.  Felt pretty good.

Saturday:  A mid 90’s day is not ideal conditions for a 5 hour long ride, but I got it done and averaged about 17.1 miles per hour.  I think that will be a pretty good tempo for Lake Placid.  The ride was supposed to be followed with a run, but I opted to do it indoors on the t’mill.  Had I run in the heat I would have ended up walking a lot of it because I knew that it was going to be tough.  So I chose to run tempo indoors on the dreadmill.  Plus I knew that I was doing a sprint triathlon on Sunday, so I thought it best to play it safe.

Sunday:  The plan called for an hour long bike spin and a 2 hour 15 minute run, but I did a sprint triathlon instead in Batavia, Illinois.  Sunday was the opposite of Saturday weather wise.  A little breezy but temps in the upper 60’s.  Matter of fact, the water temp was warmer than the air temp for a change!  I ended up with a 6 minute PR over my time from 2014.  I guess I smashed the bike, and the run was pretty quick as well.  I only counted one guy passing me on the bike, and no one passed me on the run.  I was gunning for it.  I placed 22nd overall, and 3rd in my age group.  Since this race is a USAT Nationals Age Group Qualifier, I should be qualified for the Nats in August.  Probably won’t go to it, seeing that it is in Omaha, Nebraska and I have a daughter entering her freshman year at Valparaiso University, a daughter heading into freshman year at Lincoln-Way Central, and a son who is turning 21 as he heads back to his senior year at Loras College.  All of that happens in the last couple of weeks in August!

Pool News:  Finally got word that they should be out to replace my pool liner this week, tentatively on Thursday which is forecasted for rain.  When it finally gets in, I think that I will probably do 30 minutes of swimming daily on the non-swim days, and do the planned swims as well.  I have some catching up to do!

WEEK 24 TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 3400 yards, 1:10

Bikes: 4 total, 8:15 hours, 138.5 miles

Runs: 7 total, 5 hours, 35 miles

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Week 24 done.  6 weeks to go!

 

 

2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 23

WEEK 23 – May 30, 2016 – June 5, 2016

A couple of noteworthy things happened this week.  First, for the second week in a row I missed my swim workouts.  I’m not all too concerned about it, but it made me think about why I didn’t have a contingency plan in place for when the school would be closed.  Well, I sort of did have one, and that was to have my own pool open and swim at home.  But I am still waiting to hear from the pool guys as to when they can put in my new liner.  I have looked into swimming at a local YMCA, but at $14 per swim that may be a little stiff.

One of my Gunner teammates Jeff, has definitely been utilizing his contingency plan as he rehabs from a back issue.  I should be taking lessons from the new guy!

The other big news is that after having consistently passing on a triathlon watch, I decided that I would take the plunge and join the cool tri kids.  What did I buy?  A brand new, in the  box Garmin 910XT.  Don’t laugh.  Even though this watch hit the market in 2011, and Garmin has since released the 920 and the 735, I got a deal that I just couldn’t pass up.  A local sporting goods store in Chicagoland, Sports Authority is going out of business and was having an everything must go sale.  I walked into the store and found that they had several new, never opened 910XT’s.  Normally they list for about $400.  Over a couple of weeks, I watched the price plunge until there was only one of about a half dozen left on the shelf, and it rang up at $159.  I made the decision to get the thing.  The receipt said all sales were final, and at the bottom said I had saved $240!  I think I got a good deal.

 

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A painful selfie with my “new” Forerunner 910XT

 

Since I already owned a Garmin Edge 500 bike computer, I found my new watch to be somewhat familiar, and the learning curve was not much of a challenge for this sometimes technology challenged geezer.  I have all the screens set up the way I want, and transferring data from my workouts to Garmin Connect is a snap when I get into range of the computer, transferring everything wirelessly!

 

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Of course I had to use it on my long ride/run Saturday brick.  

 

The last thing of note is that I seem to have entered a stage of training that I totally forgot about the last time I did the Ironman – the “I’m always angry, sad, moody” stage.  Lately I have been so down and moody, and it is compounded by the fact that two of my kids graduated junior high and high school, and my son is entering his last year of college.  It also didn’t help that I asked my wife to buzz my hair with the smallest clipper, effectively making me look like an older geezer than I actually am.  I guess to combat this I guess is to let my hair grow out some, get some good rest and keep eating.  They say that when you are sad or angry during the race you need to eat.  I have no trouble eating.

WEEK 23 TOTALS:

Swims: No swimming this week😦

Bikes: 3 total, 7.33 hours, 124.5 miles

Runs: 7 total, 6 hours, 42 miles

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Keep putting hay in the barn.  

 

2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 22

WEEK 22 – May 23, 2016 – May 29, 2016

As usual, my wonderful wife keeps pretty close tabs on me during my training.  She knows the effort involved and makes sure I don’t overdo it.  But lately she has been on me about under-doing it, in particular the swim.  Some may call that nagging, but it is really just loving concern.  The schools had their final week of classes this week and therefore adjusted the pool hours to end midday, effectively keeping me out of the pool for another week.  And I am still waiting for my in-ground pool to be fixed.

I had convinced myself that missing a week or two of swimming wasn’t going to affect me, but when my number one fan is concerned, I guess I had better think about it as well.  I guess I will add some upper body strength training (which I loathe, by the way) in the interim until I can get back into swimming.

The Ironman related Facebook pages that I follow were also talking a lot about swimming too, mainly in regard to a condition called SIPE – Swimming Induced Pulmonary Edema.  It appears that this condition may be a big cause of many of the swimming related fatalities in the Ironman swims.  I read up on the topic and even listened to a podcast that discussed it, and truthfully I have never had any of the symptoms of this condition.  But it pays to be aware of them for sure.

As far as the rest of the week of training is concerned, it was somewhat of an easy week that tapered down slightly toward a Half-Iron distance race in the plan for Sunday.  Since this weekend happened to be Memorial Day weekend and my youngest daughter had a soccer tournament, the best day to do this trial run was Saturday.  There was too much going on to do an actual race, so I did the training on my own.  The day started out slightly cool with somewhat threatening skies, but it never did rain.  I stuck to the Old Plank Trail in order to have some shelter available to me in case I needed to dodge a storm.  I ended up doing almost exactly 56 miles, averaging 17.5 mph.

After getting home, I changed into some non-sweaty running clothes and headed for the 6.55 miles out and 6.55 miles back.  But the threatening skies turned sunny, and I had neglected to put on sunscreen.  I was starting to cook.  But I had plenty of water, GU and Base salt with me and I kept up with it.  Of note, I ran the 13.1 miles in 2:01 which was pretty much my best effort for the conditions.  I had run the Frankfort Half Marathon a month earlier in 1:35.  Interesting how much slower you run when you precede it with a 56 mile ride and do it in 80 degree weather.

Upon getting home, I could tell that I had over-done it somewhat.  A shower, some rehydration, and a quick dinner made me whole again. I think I pushed a little too hard on the bike and didn’t hydrate as much as I should have.  That’s what training is for, learning from the mistakes.

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69.1 miles later…

 

WEEK 22 TOTALS:

Swims: No swimming this week 😦

Bikes: 3 total, 5 hours, 87.5 miles

Runs: 7 total, 5 hours, 34.6 miles

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Training gets serious in the next few weeks.

2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 21

WEEK 21 – May 16, 2016 – May 22, 2016

Another week of playing catch up.  The totals for last week were down because I missed my long run on Sunday.  So I ended up doing it on the Monday rest day.  14 miles in 2 hours.  Tuesday I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon, so I had to cut my swim short and ended up doing 2500 yards instead of the 3500 the plan called for.  Since I needed to pick up my son from college on Friday, I skipped the planned swim.  I don’t mind skipping the third swim.

The rest of the week went well with no big issues.  The best part of the week however was the long Saturday ride and brick run that most of my Gunner teammates were able to make.  Dave and his son Alex made the trip to my home to ride together, but we ended up delaying it a little so John could join us as well.  We were missing our Gunner friend Jeff, who is still rehabbing from his minor back surgery and is limited to riding a stationary recumbent bike and using an elliptical.  So what does a Gunner do when those are his options?  Jeff did 4 hours on the elliptical.  Gunner.  Can’t wait until he can join us again.  He had a really good base built up and should be able to get back up to speed easily.

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It took us several tries to take a selfie. My arms are too short.

We rode for about an hour and then met with John, then we decided that heading east and west might be our best option due to the wind blowing from the north.  Unfortunately, most of the good riding for me is south of my town, so with a south wind it is hard to avoid having to ride back into the wind.

So we decided to explore a little, and that meant discovering gravel roads and busier highways. But we weren’t on them long, and eventually made it out to Elwood.  When we got to the north side of Midewin National Nature Preserve, we decided to ride into it and see what the old abandoned arsenal had for us.  Essentially it was just a couple miles of choppy road in the middle of nowhere.  Now we know.

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I’m the odd ball with the non-Speed Concept.  Oh well.  We weren’t sure if we should go in, but we did anyway.

Since we had been riding about an hour when we caught John, we decided that we would compromise and do an extra 1/2 hour to give him 3.5 hours and us 4.5 hours of riding.  In all, we covered about 77 miles in 4:30, give or take a couple of minutes.  I did notice that we passed the half-Iron bike distance of 56 miles at about 3:17, which is a pretty good time for a training ride if you ask me.  Matter of fact, the ride was quite a confidence booster.

The brick run was impressive to me.  I had always thought that it wouldn’t be long before Dave and John started to catch up with me tempo-wise on the run.  They certainly had some speed at the end of that 5.5 mile run.  I took them through a local neighborhood that has some really big houses, which they seemed to enjoy.  Then it was back home for a quick shower and a dinner at Fuddrucker’s, a hamburger joint that I hadn’t been to in probably 25 or more years.  I didn’t even think this place still existed.  But the food was hot and good, and the end of day conversations and recaps were awesome.

The Sunday workout consisted of a 1:15 hour spin, which I did with my wife.  We rode into New Lenox on the trail and then made it back home.  I took a minute to clean the Gatorade and gravel dirt off my bike, then headed out for the 1:45 long run.  It ended up being 12 miles.  I should have hydrated more because I was suffering a little in the 80 degree 100% sunshine.  I brought one water, but could have used more.  I think I needed to hydrate a little more from yesterday’s effort.

The last thing of note for the week is that we have all ordered our custom tri kits from Epix.  They did a really good job designing a logo for us and creating a kit.  I hope that all of us find the kit to fit well and be comfortable.  Can’t wait to get them in early July.

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A screen shot of our tri top from Epix.  They did a really good job with the Gunner logo and the design of the kit.  I really like them.

 

WEEK 21 TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 2 hours, 6000 yards

Bikes: 4 total, 7:40 hours, 121 miles

Runs: 7 total, 7:55 hours, 54.7 miles

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Week 21 is Done!  Getting closer to LP!

 

2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 20

WEEK 20 – May 9, 2016 – May 15, 2016

Well, I have reached the end of another week of training, but it was not without its imperfections.  Stuff happens, and it certainly was an interesting week.

First of all, what a crappy weather week.  Basically rainy and 50 degrees for most of the week, which is somewhat unusual temperature-wise for northern Illinois.  I hit the trainer and treadmill for most of the weekday workouts.

The swims were interesting as well.  As the school year winds down, I noticed for the past few weeks that the freshman classes that are required to take swimming must have all gotten through the program because I had the pool pretty much to myself.  (The school dedicates two lanes for Adult Community swimmers, and the kids swim in the deep end.)  But I forgot that as we reach the end of the year, they let any class that wants some pool time to come an goof around.  That means kids doing cannonballs off the spring board, football wannabes tossing a football around and tackling each other, water polo balls flying into my lane, etc.  Makes for an interesting swim.

An update for my pool situation – I ordered a new liner to replace the ripped one, so I anticipate it being open sometime mid-June, hopefully because I believe my wife has a graduation party scheduled for the end of June.  Yikes!  I saw a duck in there this morning.

I had to cut short Friday’s workout so I could go watch my son run at least one track meet this year.  I picked up Grandpa and off we went to Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa to watch him run his event, the Steeplechase.  4.5 hours of driving there.  9:55 minutes of him running.  4.5 hours driving back.  Very proud of him though.  He set a personal record by 15 seconds or so, and finished 8th in the race which earned a point for his team, Loras College.

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The lad doing his thing.  Interesting race, the steeplechase.  Of course it rained.

Saturday was another day that I had to make some changes.  A family acquaintance passed away and I attended the funeral.  Good man, raised good kids, and went above and beyond serving his community as a board member of the high schools.

So I did about a third of the biking that was in the plan for Saturday, and did another 2.5 hours on Sunday.  Which meant Sunday’s long run took a hit.  I will move it to tomorrow, which is normally a rest day.  Two hour run.  That’s something to look forward to.

The Week 11-20 Build phase totals up to the following:

  • Swims: – 19 total, 18.5 total hours, 115,800 total yards
  • Bikes: – 38 total, 53:45 total hours, 850 total miles
  • Runs: – 70 total, 45.5 total hours, 324 total miles

WEEK 20 TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 2:20 hours, 6800 yards

Bikes: 3 total, 4:45 hours, 77.75 miles

Runs: 7 total, 2.8 hours, 24.75 miles

Unknown-4
The build phase is over.  Uh oh.  

 

 

2016 IMLP Training – Week 19

WEEK 19 – May 2, 2016 – May 8, 2016

Just a quick wrap-up for this week as it was pretty uneventful.  But there were some noteworthy items.

I learned a lesson about doing a half marathon last weekend.  It’s aftermath was painful.  I was very sore on most of my runs until about Friday.  Need to do some more stick rolling and stretching and I should be back to having that “normal” worn out feeling that I usually have.

Although the plan has a swim on Friday, I have decided that I will do them when I can.  It’s just that when you are doing training you end up neglecting some things that have little consequence, and others that have more significant consequence.  Like not mowing the yard, which at this time of the year can be more like a jungle if I don’t tend to it.  And since I feel the weekend long efforts on the bike and run are vital to the training, I think I can still be okay by foregoing one of the three hour long swims to devote time to household responsibilities.  I’ve been averaging about 2:05 minute splits per 100 yards over 3000 yards, which I am very happy with.

Speaking of the swim, I finally decided to pull the cover off my pool and try to open it.  Swimming in my own pool saves time, and even though it is a lot of turning around, I don’t mind it much.  I expected a green pool when I pulled the cover off, but got a much bigger surprise – a black lagoon!

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Watch out for the creature!

Cleaning this will be a chore, but it would probably be ready in a couple of weeks.  But surprise number two came when I saw this:

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Yeah, duct tape won’t fix that.

So, now it looks like it may need to be replaced, and that may delay the pool opening for a while.  I’ve got two kids graduating 8th grade and high school this year, and the Ironman to train for, so I need that pool open!

The long bike was a four hour long trip this week, but I got to ride with a couple of friends, my normal riding partner Todd, and my other Ironman Gunner teammate Dave.  Todd is not interested at all in doing tri’s, but loves to ride.  He left us around 2:45 into the ride and Dave and I finished it off.  We pretty much have to ride south for good roads to ride, which meant with the wind going out.  Coming back was tough!  But we got through it.

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Looking fresh after a 4 hour ride and 45 minute run.  So much more fun when you have someone to train with.

Wrapped up the weekend with a Sunday long run of 12 miles.  I was set to only do 10 miles, but just as I was turning off the trail to run the mile back home, my wife jumped on.  So I enjoyed running an extra couple of miles with the mother of my children on a nice Mother’s Day.  She was the anti-runner when I met her, and now she’s starting to get pretty fast.  I converted a non-runner into a running lover!  Just need to get her interested in the marathon!

WEEK 19 TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 2 hours, 6000 yards

Bikes: 5 total, 7.8 hours, 112 miles

Runs: 7 total, 5.5 hours, 38 miles

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Getting closer to the endurance phase!  Scary!

 

2016 IMLP Training – Week 18

WEEK 18 – April 25, 2016 – May 1, 2016

The taper weeks always seem to surprise me, mainly because I rarely look ahead in the training plan unless forced to do so.  I take it one day, one week at a time.  No sense in worrying about the six hour rides and 3 hour runs at this stage of the game.  The tapers are almost like a gift or courtesy, like someone holding the door for you.  A welcome break for the work that you have put in.

The plan had an Olympic distance triathlon scheduled for Sunday, and since it is April in Illinois, the opportunity to get that task done was going to be limited unless I traveled to somewhere with a better spring than the one we are having.  But there was a local half marathon being run, so I decided to hop on that instead.

The half marathon was so local that it was on the exact same trails that I run every run.  I went into it thinking to use it as a training day, but of course the competitive side of me took over and I pushed hard.  I finished in 12th place overall.  But the surprising thing is that I finished 4th in my age group!  I am still trying to figure out how someone in the Male 50-54 age group can finish in 12th place and lose out on a podium finish by three other old guys.  My area must be ripe with fast old guys.  You can read my race recap here:

2016 Frankfort Half Marathon Race Report

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Bad post race selfie.

The other thing of note this week was the swim and my ongoing issue with having to urinate when swimming.  I don’t get it.  Tuesday was to be a 3000 yard swim, and like clockwork I had to pee a half hour into it.  Then it was again about every 5-10 minutes.  When I got to the 2800 yard point I could feel some rather sharp pain in my lower back that almost doubled me over.  I decided to get out and head to the shower.  I did a little googling of the issue and found a condition called immersion diuresis.  The suggested reasoning is colder water and the pressure of being in the water stimulates the kidneys to make more urine.  I’m not sure what the pool temp is, but it isn’t what I would consider cold.  And I am not sure that I buy any pressure related causes because I’m swimming along the top of the water.  In the past I have just gotten out of the water and relieved myself and was able to continue on.  But the kidney ache that I got this time gave me some pause.  On Saturday after finishing the half marathon, I urinated a somewhat bloody stream.  Race day was cool and damp, and I had not felt like I was adequately hydrated.  I am curious if it was related to the issue I had earlier in the week or that the run was the cause.  I have had bloody appearing urine after hard running efforts in the past.  I will keep an eye on it for now.

Hoping for the best for one of my Gunners training teammates.  He had an issue with his back that has been treated and hopefully will put him back at it soon.  He was in great shape prior and will have plenty of time to recover and train.

Not sure what next week will be like.  I don’t look ahead, remember?  But it won’t be long and I will be heading into the endurance phase of training.

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Taper is King!

 

WEEK 18 TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 1.5 hours, 4300 yards

Bikes: 2 total, 1.5 hours, 21 miles

Runs: 7 total, 4 hours, 31 miles

2016 Frankfort Half Marathon Race Report

4/30/2016

I’m not even the fastest Old Guy!

I ran the Frankfort, Illinois Half Marathon today and found myself really questioning my sanity. First of all, I am in the middle of training for Ironman Lake Placid, and I usually avoid racing any distance road race to avoid doing something stupid and end up injured. But my training plan tapered this week with the instruction to do an Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday. Seeing that it is April in Illinois, good luck finding one. So I substituted the half marathon on a Saturday to end the week.

Second, this race seems doomed weather-wise. It was 40 degrees and pouring last year (I didn’t run it last year), and this year was predicted to be more of the same. I have never not started a race that I signed up for (and paid good money), and I really didn’t like thinking that I was going to blow it off. Fortunately, the rain held off at the start and I took my spot in Corral A. I found it slightly humorous that I was seeded in the first corral of this little local race.

So the gun went off and I found myself running along the guy holding the 1:30 pace group sign, a sign basically made from a dowel rod, two paper plates, and plenty of clear tape. We chatted for a while, but I knew that I would probably be better off not trying to stay with him. We passed the first mile and he said our split was 6:51! Okay, definitely need to back off the gas a little. I mentioned to him that I was surprised the big guy in green was ahead of us, holding that sub-7 minute per mile pace, but that guy started to slowly pull away. Pacer Guy said he had to pick it up in order to stay on pace. I found this particularly funny, because he basically had no one with him to pace! Maybe he grew tired of me, I don’t know. I do know the 2 hour pacer guy came in a little late and the guy with the microphone was razzing him a little. Maybe 1:30 pacer guy didn’t want to suffer the same indignity! Pacer Guy didn’t have a bib, and wasn’t racing because I asked him. So I let both the Pacer Guy and Green Shirt Guy go and I fell into a more comfortable pace, because I knew what was coming.

After a few minutes I found myself running alone. The Pacer Guy and Green Shirt Guy were at least 100 yards ahead, and there was no one immediately behind me either. I find myself in this situation all the time and it puzzles me. I guess it is a matter of perspective, but I can either say I am the slowest of the faster group or the fastest of the slow group. Maybe mid-packer is what I truly am. But it is tough to be in the mid-pack WHEN YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE! Trivial, I guess. The loneliness of a long distance runner.

I also realized at this point of the race, I was slightly overdressed. I took off the ear wrap and gloves and could feel myself cooling down. I thought about tossing the long sleeve shirt but kept it, because I remembered during my warm up that the wind would be blowing in my face on this out and back run. Glad I kept it on.

Standing in the elite (!) Corral A, I took notice of the competition. There was the typical thin twenty year olds who look like they just finished their college running careers, the backward hat guy, a couple of girls who I could tell had “game”, the guy with some race team singlet, and another guy who clearly didn’t belong in Corral A because his number was 438 or something, and we were all wearing very low numbers. Plus, he kept asking questions about the course. We racers in Corral A never come to Corral A without knowing the course and how to attack it! SMH, dude.

But the most interesting aspect of my fellow competitors in Corral A was that many seemed to be in my age group by the look of their greying hair and fuddy-duddy race outfits. I had looked at last year’s results and figured if I had a good day, I might win an age-group award, but looking at these guys I wasn’t so sure. They had the look of confidence, and well the look of fast, old guys.

Back to the action – At about four miles into the race, we turned off the mostly flat bike trail and headed into the nature preserve. Since I live in this area, I consider this area my home turf. I know every little hill, bump, crack, twist and turn as I have run this trail nearly every run since it opened in 2001 or so. I knew what was coming, about six miles of very difficult hilly terrain. So I paced myself up the hills and flew down the other side, over and over again. At about Mile 5, a group of volunteers were passing out water so I took a cup to wash down the gel I just ate. As I was doing that, the volunteer said “You’re looking good!” I replied, “Lady, I’m not even the fastest old guy!”

And that was true. I hadn’t caught any of the old dudes that had started with me in the race. I had a good idea of where I stood, about 14th overall, when I had the opportunity to count the lead out pack earlier in the race. At the halfway point, I had only been passed by two runners – the two girls with game – and that was it. I also saw Race Team Singlet Guy walking on the side of the trail after getting through Round 1 of the hills. As I hit the turn-around and started back into the fury of hills, I could see that he dropped out. Yes! I made up a position! But I could also see how far the Fast Old Guys were ahead of me. Way ahead of me.

Back into the hills and that’s when the rest of the racers got a view of the awesomeness of the Corral A starters! Out and backs are interesting, as you get to see the lead runners and how far ahead of you they are. I got a little depressed when I saw the leaders already heading back while I still had a half mile to the turn-around. I wonder if the back of the pack runners get that too. They and I shouldn’t, we’re awesome too!

The trail got pretty crowded and I was no longer able to take the straightest line and run the tangents. But I got plenty of “great job’s!” and I returned the complement. I have been running since the late 1980’s, and truthfully I think this is the biggest running boom that I have seen in a long time. Glad to see so many others taking up the sport, especially the longer distance stuff. The lone runner that I actually know personally, Holly, saw me and we exchanged hello’s!

At Mile 9 I caught Green Shirt Guy, and as we continued leaving the hills behind us, he didn’t seem to want to keep up. But I didn’t get to enjoy passing him for too long, because within a mile I got passed by White Shirt Guy. I had dismissed White Shirt Guy earlier because he didn’t look the part of my other Corral A competitors. We were wearing real running shorts and looking every bit the part of running legends, and this guy had a pair of baggy shorts pulled over some tights. And he was wearing earphones! I got to say, I see people wearing head and earphones in races all the time. I never take them seriously because I think its a crutch for them, like they can’t do such a boring activity without music! And if they can’t run without music, my thinking is that they probably aren’t doing intervals and hill repeats either. But maybe I misjudged White Shirt Guy and his earphones.

White Shirt Guy passed me quickly as I was trying to down my second and last gel, but he was panting pretty hard and I felt like I was floating along. My immediate thought was that he is kicking way too early. I grabbed a water from another volunteer and said something that I would quickly regret: “That guy sounds like he’s suffering.” He wasn’t.

We turned on to the path and briefly headed west until a quick turn around and then it’s a 5K or so straight back to the finish. It was then when I saw the pack starting to form behind me, and the lead that White Shirt Guy was building. I figured I better keep pace with White Shirt Guy, and focus on the race ahead instead of what was behind.

The wind was now blowing straight into our faces. It wasn’t that strong, but it was cold and it made me duck my head a little. It had also started to sprinkle just a little. As I crossed Wolf Road one of the ESDA volunteers shouted my name. It was a kid that I had coached and had on my baseball team when he was about 11 or 12. I tell you that really gave me a pick-up! I actually had a little adrenaline flow through me from that. Glad I made an impression on the kid. And I am thankful that he was impressed.

I kept the pace until Mile 11 and started to draw White Shirt Guy in slowly. I could see the big bridge that goes over Route 45 ahead at about 12.5 miles and knew I would pace up it and try to fly down it. I made up some space on him and it was then that I knew I probably had him. As we came upon the 13 Mile marker, he took a quick look over his left shoulder, but I don’t think he saw me as I was running far right. I made my move and passed him quickly. I don’t think he even heard me, because he didn’t make any sort of effort to match my effort. Another reason not to wear earphones in a race! I heard him struggling and finally give an exasperated sigh, and I kicked to the finish line with what I had left. He kicked too damn early. And he wore earphones. I don’t get beat by runners wearing earphones.

I walked to the car and grabbed my sweatshirt and sweatpants to keep warm and then I walked back to the finish and watched quite a few runners finish. The race directors Jim and Bev own the little running store near the finish line. My son worked for them last summer. I spoke with Jim and he reiterated how great of a kid he was. Even though he has told me that once before, I still beam with pride. (Note to my son – use Jim as a reference on your resume!)

Bev walked up and had the current list of finishers and she let me have a look. There it was: 12th place overall. 4th in the 50-54 age group. I finished in the top twelve and didn’t even medal.

I’m not even the fastest Old Guy.

2016 IMLP Training – Week 17

WEEK 17 – April 18, 2016 – April 24, 2016

Good week this week because of…  Taper!  Just as the plan was building to a weekend 4 hour ride and a 1.5 hour run, Fink dialed it back.  I think the next week is set up for another easy week, finishing with an Olympic distance triathlon.  Since it is late April in the suburbs of Chicago, good luck finding a race!  Instead, I signed up for a half-marathon for next Sunday and will do a little biking afterward.

I missed one of the swims this week as the Friday swim fell on my wife’s birthday.  And if I have learned anything about triathlon training, you don’t screw with family obligations!  So I had some things to do birthday-wise, and the swim was skipped.

Cycling went well this week, and I felt really good about the 4 hour long ride/half hour brick run.  It was a little cool at the start, but all things considered a nice day for a ride.  I think I averaged about 17 mph, but was often moving along at over 20 mph.

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Had to yield to a peacock on the bike trail.  That was a first.  

I finally found some time to buy some new running shoes on Sunday.  I haven’t tried them out yet.  My running shoe brand ASICS has been so dependable for me that I almost never even try them on in the store, I just grab my model and size and go.  But last time I bought the new version of the Kayano, the 22 and it’s construction is very different from the 21.  I found it to be stiff and the left shoe seemed to slap the ground, which bugged the heck out of me.  Very disappointed with this version.  So I am trying an experiment and bought a cheap ASICS model, the GEL-EXCITE 3.  While testing them in the store, I found them to be really comfortable and sturdy.  My experience with the cheaper shoes is that they just don’t last as long in respect to cushioning and wear and tear on the sole.  I will keep track and see if they can get to 300 miles.  If so, then that is $50 well spent!

 

WEEK 17 TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 2 hours, 6000 yards

Bikes: 4 total, 6.5 hours, 112 (that’s an omen!) miles

Runs: 7 total, 5 hours, 36 miles

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Week 17 – Done!