I Can’t Remember

2021 IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA TRAINING

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WEEK 6 – April 11, 2021

I am fortunate to have supportive family and friends who take an interest in my pursuit of my Ironman goals, but I have one friend in particular that I call my Number 1 Fan – Carl. Carl is the one friend that takes the passing interest to a much higher level. He not only wants to know what workout I did but needs to know the details as well. I’m glad to accommodate him as it allows me to brag about myself for a few minutes, except most of the time I can’t remember.

Carl: What did you do yesterday, Ironman?

Me: umm… a bike ride? Yeah, a bike ride.

Carl: How far did you go?

Me: umm… I rode for an hour.

Carl: How far is that?

Me: umm… let me look it up.

My Number 1 Fan Carl wondering why I can’t remember the details.

I don’t mind providing the details, but it’s interesting to me that once I get the workout done I kind of move on from it. It’s not that I don’t want to remember what I did as I train, but during a 30-week build to a race, it just all blends together somewhat. I certainly make an effort to document it. The workouts all get recorded by my Garmin watch and phone app. And I write a summary each week so that I can look back and spark my memory of the journey I am on. But sometimes it’s just a workout, nothing more and nothing less.

I am working on writing a post about all the races I have participated in since I started running in the 1980s. It’s taking me a while to go through my handwritten running log and find the entries. I am finding with that trip through the past that I can recall details about some of the long-ago races pretty clearly. It must be something about racing that makes you remember, something that creates a stored memory. I can also remember certain runs when something out of the ordinary happens, like a fall, or getting chased by a dog, getting caught in a storm, etc. But when the workout is spinning on a stationary bike for 60 minutes and thumbing through Facebook while doing it for the 200th time, it just simply becomes part of the day without creating anything special about it. Maybe that will have a cumulative effect in that I will remember doing those workouts as a whole rather than the details that went into them.

I can remember many of the details of running on the Green Bay Trail in the 1990s: where I began and ended my runs, the street crossings, the portion through Ravinia. But if I looked at my log and saw that I ran 8 miles in 60 minutes that day, I will have to take my word for it. I don’t remember it.

I have logged many miles on the Old Plank Trail, so many in fact that I sometimes say that I know every little dip, bump, and distinctive trait of the trail. I know which houses have a dog that barks at me. I know when to move to the left to avoid the divot in the trail as I head north up the path and over the bridge. Those memories are solid, and I rely on them quite a bit. But I guess our brains can’t store every single detail about each workout. I mean, how much of the mundane can you remember? Do you remember what you had for lunch yesterday? Probably not. Do you remember your 21st birthday? More than likely, because turning 21 is a memorable milestone. But do you remember your 22nd birthday? I don’t.

Am I supposed to make each run, bike or swim a memorable one? I’m not sure if that is even possible. Frankly, I think trying to concentrate and remember every detail would most likely wear me out mentally. But I am glad to have pretty clear memories of those workouts that do have something memorable happen.

I guess that I am lucky to have my Number 1 Fan pry those little details from me. Maybe I will remember more of them thanks to Carl. But I can promise you this – although I may not remember every little detail a day, a week or a years later, I will always remember my Number 1 Fan asking me about my workouts. Thanks, Carl.

Swims: 0

Bikes: 3 rides – 63 miles

Runs: 5 runs – 30 miles

Week 6 is in the books. 1/5th of the way done.

Three Plastic Bags and a Popped Balloon

2021 IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA TRAINING

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WEEK 5 – April 4, 2021

Last week I talked about needing some motivation to get through some biking and running workouts.  This week I had the motivation, but when it came to doing the Saturday long ride what I lacked was the desire.

My family had planned a trip to Nashville for the Easter weekend to visit our freshman daughter Rebecca, who attends Vanderbilt University, and some family who lives in the area.  I have always been of the mindset that if you are going to miss some workouts, it’s probably best to at least try to get the long weekend training stuff done.  At this stage of training, a long ride isn’t all that long; the plan called for an hour and 45-minutes.  So I moved the ride to Thursday and April Fool’s played an unappreciated trick on me – it was cold.  When I got home midday my car was telling me it was 32°F.  The wind wasn’t too bad, and I had the motivation to do the ride, now I lacked the desire!

After taking the dog for a quick walk, I decided to toughen up and act like an Ironman and just go do it.  I put on some extra layers and wore a set of gloves under a pair of large mittens and got my bike ready to roll.  While in the garage I decided to put on a couple of plastic newspaper bags over my socks before putting on my cycling shoes.  I’m glad I did because my very cold ride last week ended with some very numb toes.  

Normally I would put them under my layered socks, but I was too lazy to do that now.

As I headed south I realized that this ride was not going to be fun.  My rides always head south and return because where I live it is urban to the immediate north and rural to the immediate south.  I count my blessings with that.  The wind was pushing me along and I was easily riding in the upper teens and 20 mph speeds.  I got to the point where I could choose to head either east or west and I chose east because I thought I would take advantage of the heavily wooded trail to head home on and keep the wind from being too much of a burden.

As soon as I turned to head back north I could feel that this ride was going to be a struggle.  I stopped at a spot where I will sometimes take a nature break and ate a gel.  I was sweating and starting to feel the cold, and knowing when I got back on the bike I would be suffering even more.  

I started to ride again and my eyes were watering and I was getting a headache from the cold wind blowing on my wet head.  I crossed Monee/Manhattan Road and started looking for something I could use to help me out, and there was an empty plastic shopping bag stuck to some brush just blowing in the wind.  I got off my bike and looked it over to make sure it wasn’t dirty and then I took off my helmet and cap and put the bag on my head and covered it back up.  I hopped on the bike and within a hundred feet or so I saw a popped mylar ballon laying in the ditch.  I stopped and inspected that and then shoved that under my cycling jersey.  As I started riding again it was almost like instant relief.  My headache went away and I started getting comfortable riding in the wind again.

The ride took me almost two hours, but it could have been much longer and much more miserable.  And in the end, I felt a sense of accomplishment, overcoming the lack of desire to ride on a cold day and being resourceful enough to not having to cash in my chips and call for my kid to come get me.  

My wind-blocking shopping bag.

Wiped out after fighting the cold windy day.

Swims:  0

Bikes:  2 – 42 miles

Runs:  3 – 11 miles

Inspiring Motivation

2021 IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA TRAINING

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WEEK 4 – March 28, 2021

This past week was a kind of a week that lacked motivation for me. I’m not sure if the oft-changing rainy and windy spring weather had something to do with it, but I just wasn’t motivated to put in the effort.

In addition to what I felt was a worthless 30-minute bike ride that I barely broke a sweat with, I was dreading an easy-paced 30-minute run for some reason. I had been watching the weather and I was anticipating the rain to start right when I usually begin my workout. I am lucky to have access to a treadmill at work and also at home, but I loathe running on them so much that I only do it when I can’t run outside. But the rain hadn’t started yet, so I told myself to get out there. This run didn’t start out so well. First, I wasn’t in the mood to run, but I decided to run from my office to the local trail, which seemed like an uphill climb. My heart rate climbed to the point that I felt like it was reminding me how out of shape I am and how much work there is yet to do. But as I got to the flat trail I settled into a slow rhythm and found a suitable pace.

About a mile into the run I passed three walkers heading in the opposite direction from me, what appeared to be an older couple walking with their adult daughter having a lively conversation, but what she was wearing on her head instantly caught my eye – an Ironman finisher hat. Knowing what it takes to earn a hat like that was enough to make me forget about the self-loathing that had been in my head. I have four of those hats myself, and I am looking for a fifth. They aren’t easy to earn. But earn them I did. And earning them sometimes means doing a workout when you aren’t really wanting to.

I picked up my pace a little, ran with a little more strut, and added a short weightlifting workout after the run that I had no desire to do beforehand.

Sometimes something simple can be a great motivator.

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My four finisher hats.

 

Swims:  0

Bikes:  3 – 39 miles

Runs:  5 – 20 miles

Gunners-2-1

Continue reading “Inspiring Motivation”

One Tenth Done

2021 IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA TRAINING

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WEEK 3 – March 21, 2021

Week 3 went by pretty quickly and was mostly unremarkable really.  The few things I thought about maybe discussing here have long evaporated from my mind, and after a beautiful weekend, I was thinking more about having some great weather for a change, rather than some triathlon or running topic to opine about.

I swapped my Saturday ride with Sunday’s run so that I could join the local running group for an early morning group run.  I’m glad that I did.  Normally group outings for me usually mean that I will find myself running or riding by myself, but this time I fell in with Pat, who also did the 2018 Boston Marathon when I did it, and another guy named Bill, who is married to someone who also works for the same employer that I do.  It was nice to have some conversations with others for a change, instead of me talking to myself.  It was a nice 8-mile run.

Sunday’s bike was a bit of a challenge heading south due to the wind, but it was nice to have a great tailwind pushing me along back home.  There was a group ride scheduled for later in the afternoon, but those guys have been doing some serious indoor riding all winter and there’s no way I would last with them.  Plus, I chose to follow my planned hour and 45-minute ride.  Stick with my plan, and forget what the others are doing.

My friend Susan commented about how I had started my training already, as she has not yet begun hers.  Her plan is shorter in duration apparently, and I think that I could also get by with a 20 or 25-week plan, but the 30-week plan I follow has been reliable for me and has consistently proven itself to prepare me well.  The thing about waiting to start the plan because you feel that you have a pretty good fitness base already doesn’t make much sense to me.  It just tells me that you are training, just not following a specific workout.  I have a pretty good base built up as well, but I’m following a plan instead of just winging it before starting.  In the end, I guess it’s a wash.  This is why I’m not a coach.  There are so many ways to personalize training.

I am one-tenth done with this plan!

Swims:  0

Bikes:  3 – 48 miles

Runs: 4 – 22 miles

Gunners-2-1

I’M SHOCKED!

2021 IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA TRAINING

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WEEK 2 – March 14, 2021

Occasionally at work, we will get treated to a lunch and on Wednesday we were told there would be pizza. Yay, pizza! I work until 11 am, so I did my bike spin/treadmill run brick workout (that’s a mouthful) in the weight room at work and then headed upstairs to enjoy some pizza. I barely had loaded my plate and sat down when I heard my genuinely shocked coworker say “YOU EAT JUNK?!?!”

I shook my head and chuckled at his comment because I have heard this question before, once from another coworker who I was currently sitting next to, and others too. For some reason, my coworker thinks that by virtue of doing stupid-long distance swim/bike/run events that I am somehow forced to eat like a rabbit. Well, this might come as a shock to everyone that thinks that being a triathlete also means that we are also nutritionally sound, unfortunately, that just isn’t the case for most of us. Look at the below picture – Ironman Chattanooga is literally sponsored by LITTLE DEBBIE!

Nutty Buddies, aka Nutty Bars, are my nemesis. Yay, Nutty Bars!

I really didn’t know whether to feel ashamed or to feel proud of the fact that I do enough exercise to allow me to enjoy a plate full of pizza without guilt. As a triathlete you develop a thick skin pretty quickly and modesty kind of goes out the window. The first time you stuff yourself in a tri suit will definitely either make you quit the sport immediately or just accept the fact that you look like an overstuffed sausage in a bright-colored nylon uniform. And eating what you want is a nice perk. But for Pete’s sake, I’m not even eating as much as you non-exercising coworkers are! I’ve seen you guys eat, and I’m not even in your league!

Me eating pizza shocks you, huh?  Do you want to hear some more shocking things triathletes do?  Well, I practically fuel my long rides and runs with – brace yourself – gels that are basically just sugar.  100 calories of sugar every 30 minutes!  Some athletes will eat a sleeve of gummy-type gel blocks every hour.  Imagine the cavities that are building after doing that for 30-weeks.  I also bring along these little sugar-pressed waffle things called “stroopwafels” for an added sugar bonus.  Yay, sugar!  

I buy these things by the box. An additional 150 calories per hour or so on top of the gels I slurp down. Ridiculously good.

Oh, and wait until the later weeks in this training program hits. I will be eating everything that isn’t nailed down, and I will still be losing weight.

I guess I need to step back from my surprise at the shock that others express when they see me scarfing down some pizza, cookies, or the other junk that comes into our office. They see the Ironman banners hanging in my office and must think it takes a monumental amount of self-discipline to do an Ironman. Well, I guess that is a little bit true, but the work generally results in a reward, whether it be getting across the finish line, or not feeling guilty about eating some pizza.

My office Ironman shrine to myself.

I have to wrap this post up for the week.  I need fuel for training and I’m having sloppy joe’s for dinner!  I earned it, I promise.  Yay, sloppy joe’s!

Swims:  0

Bikes:  3 – 41 miles

Runs: 4 – 21 miles

PUMP IT UP!

2021 IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA TRAINING

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WEEK 1 – March 7, 2021

Lou is dead.  Long live Choo!  

2020 Ironman Louisville got killed by a lethal combination of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as social upheaval going on in Louisville and it was not only enough to postpone the race, but to kill it totally off.  Ironman Louisville (aka Kentucky) is no more.  I was offered a deferral to a handful of other 2020 races which I felt had no chance of occurring, so I opted for the deferral to 2021 Ironman Chattanooga.  A year into a pandemic, and I’m still somewhat pessimistic about whether we will race or not. But 2021 is here, people (including myself) are getting vaccinated, and real in-person events are starting to take shape and look like a possibility of actually happening.  The CEO of Ironman came out recently with a video regarding how they expect the racing season to play out, which made most of us scratch our heads.  What I get out of the video is that they truly want to race, but if they can’t they will tell us at the last possible second and keep our money anyway.  But no matter his message, I’m signed up and will have to train to be ready if it does happen.

After completing Choo in 2019, my buddies and I all kind of agreed that we didn’t care to come back to it.  I guess maybe that was the ungodly heat that helped with that mindset, but yes, it seemed to wow us less than Wisconsin, Lake Placid, and Louisville had done in prior years.  But when Choo became my only real option, heck I will take it.  It’s really not that bad of a course – the swim is almost effortless and the bike is the easiest of the four I have done.  The run is the devil at this race, and add the heat like we had in 2019, and well, it was enough for us to say we’d never want to do the race again.

Seeing that I got through about 16 weeks of training for Louisville when it got axed, I have somewhat just drifted through my usual training, knowing that racing in 2020 was a longshot.  With the exception of enjoying some brief, mild winter trail running, my desire to sign up for races or even do any significant training has waned.  I had lost my mojo. The time to start training is here, but I’m still looking for some motivation.

I was spinning on the stationary bike this week and listening to some shuffled songs on Spotify when I heard Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up.  That’s what I kind of need right now, something to pump me up.  The weather is getting better, the snow is starting to melt, and soon I will take my training outdoors.  Time to pump myself up.

I’ll be following the Competitive Plan from the book Be Iron Fit by Don Fink once again.  It has never let me down.  I have made some alterations to it in order to make it more personal to my needs, but I stick to it pretty closely.  

I swapped out my old saddle for a new ISM PR1.0 split-nose model.  I’m hoping that the saddle is more comfortable than the old one.  I will have to find another way to mount my bottle cages to it, but there is time for that.

Swimming won’t happen until I get my pool open in May sometime.  I have added some light weightlifting workouts for now, but I tend to get bored with that real quickly.  

Here’s to training with my Gunner teammates and some of the locals I know who are also doing the race.   Ironman Chattanooga, here I come!  PUMP IT UP!

Swims:  0

Bikes:  4 – 57.5 miles

Runs: 4 – 15 miles

Gunners-2-1

Moving On

THE LAST POST REGARDING IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 

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R.I.P. LOUISVILLE IRONMAN 2020

It really didn’t take me too long to get over having the race I was training for come to an end.  I guess I had been expecting it to end for quite a while, but I just kept moving forward (a tried and true Ironman motto) in my training until the final word was announced.  So after having a week to think it over, here’s what I will most likely do going forward.

I will opt to take the automatic transfer to Ironman Chattanooga in 2021.  There is really no way the other three Fall 2020 transfer options are going to happen in my mind.  Three of us Gunner teammates were already signed up for Louisville, and two and maybe a third had not signed up.  So if we decide as a group to head back to Chatty in 2021 all I need to do is make the transfer official and start training next year.  If we for some reason want to do a different race then I will have no problem paying the transfer fee and do that race with the group.  But Ironman has some pretty specific rules on transferring, so I will have to take that into consideration.  We’ll have to talk that over.  I remember us talking about not wanting to do Chatty again, but I think that was the dreadful heat of the 2019 race influencing that decision.  It was an okay location, we enjoyed ourselves and I would go back.  But before I get too confident with all that, I have to realize that this is all conjecture.  There’s talk that this Covid-19 crap may stick around into 2021 and screw everybody’s race season up again.  So there’s that…

I will keep training, that really isn’t a big surprise.  I actually enjoy the weekly stuff, the long Saturday ride, and running is just part of who I am.  I can’t imagine not running.  Swimming on the other hand…  well, let’s just say that I do enjoy a cannonball splashdown after a long run or ride.  But I doubt I will do much swim training for the rest of the year.  The training won’t be anything too overwhelming, but enough to keep me fit and doing what I love.  I may join some local group rides now that it won’t interfere with me following my training plan.  I may also text a local friend to see if he wants to do some riding again.  We stopped riding together when my training became too specific and he just wanted to ride.  

I was kicking around the idea of doing an Ironman of my own making either at home or in Wisconsin at my lakehome and inviting my buddies to do it, but I’m not so hot on the idea now.  That would require us to keep training and following the plan and with the weather heating up and the fact we’ve had our bubble burst with Louisville, I don’t think any of us would want to do it.  I may, however, do a half-iron distance day of my own just because I already have the fitness to do that and could pull it off pretty easily.  I think the training plan has a 70.3 training day built into it coming up in a few weeks, so I may still do that.  I need to sleep on that a little.

Lastly, I have one more hope left of having an opportunity to race this year and that race is the Big Hill Bonk Last Runner Standing elimination ultramarathon.  This race was supposed to occur in April but got postponed to October.  I received an email last week stating that as of right now the race is a go until the race director finds out otherwise.  He gave us a drop dead date of September 15th, so we’ll know by then if he has to cancel it.  So since that tells me that the race is iffy at best, I’m not going to do any special ultramarathon type distance training and if the race happens I will just go up to Beloit and run 4.166-mile loops every hour until I can’t take it anymore.  And that’s all predicated on whether I feel comfortable around other athletes and doing the Covid-19 dance around each other.  If I don’t feel safe in that environment or it’s too big of a hassle I will opt out.

So there you have it.  I’m going forward with my daily workouts for fun instead of for a specific reason and we’ll see what happens.  So long, Ironman Louisville 2020.  Hello, Ironman Chattanooga 2021.

 

 

Ironman Louisville 2020 Is Canceled

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

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WEEK 16 – June 29 > July 5, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART XVI

Well, it’s over.  I finally got the email that I had been expecting for a few weeks now.

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Of course, the main reason the race has been canceled is due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  But add in a lot of social unrest going on in Louisville right now, I think that trying to host this race during all of this is a huge headache for the City of Louisville and Ironman.

Actually, I am a little relieved, to be honest.  Had Ironman dragged on the decision to cancel to a later date, I probably would have been a little ticked off.  I’ve trained for 16 weeks of 30 and had I done more training only to have the race be canceled would not have made me happy.  Here are the options Ironman gave me:

  • Transfer to Ironman Maryland (Cambridge) 2020 on September 19, 2020
  • Transfer to Ironman Chattanooga 2020 on September 27, 2020
  • Transfer to Ironman Texas (Waco) 2020 on October 17, 2020
  • Transfer to Ironman Chattanooga 2021 on September 26, 2021

The option to transfer to Ironman Louisville 2021 doesn’t exist, as Louisville was given a 1-year extension on their previously expired contract.  It appears the City of Louisville has moved on from Ironman.

Three of the four options for transferring my registration are for races in the Fall of 2020.  Does it make any sense to think that if the October 2020 race has been canceled, that there will be any fall races in 2020?  I seriously doubt it.  I guess it may depend on the location and how they are dealing with the pandemic, but there has yet to be an Ironman or any other major race held in 2020 that occurred in the United States after the pandemic stay-at-home order.

Cambridge, Maryland is in Dorchester County, MD, and there have been a total of 201 cases of Covid-19 and only five deaths.  I guess that is promising.  I was expecting it to be somewhat higher.  Waco, Texas has had 1563 total confirmed cases with nine deaths.  And Chattanooga, Tennessee checks in with 2909 total cases and 35 deaths.  Chattanooga’s cases are on the rise, though.

The fourth is the safest bet, a fall race in Chattanooga in 2021.  But we all had just done Chattanooga and we weren’t thinking about heading back there any time soon.  It’s going to be a tough decision.

I’m not sure what the rest of my Gunner teammates want to do.  Jan and I were already signed up to do IMLou, but Dave and Alex were not.  I’m thinking Jeff was also signed up but I’m not sure.  So at least Jan and I have to make a decision on the above options.  The trouble for Dave, Alex, and possibly Jeff is that if you click on the Maryland website it shows it as closed.  So if Jan and I opt for that, we won’t be joined by the others.  Ironman Texas and Chattanooga are both open for registration, so those are the two options for this year that all the Gunners could be in on.  If I were a non-registered Gunner, I’d probably opt out of racing at all.  I have been hearing a lot of that on Facebook recently – people are sad that they can’t race, but in reality not racing is probably the smartest and safest thing to do.

The one last option that I may pitch to my buddies is to head up north to my lake home and do Ironman Minocqua – Team Gunners!  It would be a self-supported team “race” that we could do on our own, which would have its own set of issues.  But it might be a fun team thing to do.

I’m not sure what option I will choose.  I’ve got some thinking to do.

TOTALS FOR WEEK 16:

As for Week 16, I did have a pretty good week training up north in Minocqua.  I got in an open water swim in Lake Minocqua that Garmin tells me was 2178 yards, which is 70.3 swim distance territory.  I felt pretty good doing it too.  The other notable thing was that I discovered a paved bike trail system that can take me from Minocqua east to St. Germain and then north to Boulder Junction and then even further west to Manitowish Waters and Mercer. I’m not sure if all that is paved, but what I rode for four hours on Saturday was.  It’s a little technical, with a lot of twisting and tight turns and a lot of rolling hills.  I will definitely be exploring that trail some more.

  • Swim:  1 / 1500 yards
  • Bike:   3 rides  /   83 miles
  • Run:   3 runs  /  21 miles

I’ll post again in the next week or two about what I decide to do.  I have until July 16 to decide.

Lastly, I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to race Ironman Louisville in 2017.  We had a pretty good time then, and I set my personal best Ironman time there.

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2017 Ironman Louisville Finisher.  One of the best finish lines in Ironman.

Gunners-2-1
Stay tuned…

 

A Half-hearted Attempt at Week 15

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

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WEEK 15 – June 22 > June 28, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART XV

I’m typing this on my iPad and it’s a little bit of a struggle for this technology challenged old guy, but I promise to clean it up when I get back to my computer at home.  I’m surprised that I am even putting forth the effort seeing that I am on vacation. 


There were a few things happening this week that kind of screwed with my desire to train. The first is that knowing that my family and I were heading to our lake house for a week, I had some stuff to deal with before leaving. I did get most of the weekly stuff done, but I missed the long ride on Saturday due to the drive up north and then dealing with cleaning up the yard and moving a week worth junk in. 

So I opted to do the four-hour ride on Sunday and it went okay, but it was eerily similar to last week’s ride.  Had another tire issue that I just refilled with a CO2 cartridge a couple of times.  This bike is nine years old and I have never had a tire or tube issue with it.  I seem jinxed lately with flats.   The ride also ended with a similar bonk at the end.  It wasn’t really hot, but I was sweating as usual and most likely didn’t keep up with my hydration.  I felt so worn out at the end that I opted to jump in the lake to cool down and skip the 30-minute brick run afterward.

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My better half joined me on the ride for awhile on the Bearskin Trail.

My ride took me to Nokomis and I found a new place in the middle of nowhere called “Bubba’s”.  It looks like a large place for bikers to assemble for an upcoming event they have for motorcyclists. The USA War monument They built was pretty impressive.

The other issue that has poured a little water on my enthusiasm is that I discovered that Ironman has closed registration for Ironman Louisville. That’s a problem because 3/5’s of my Gunner teammates hadn’t signed up for it yet!  I’m not sure why they closed it, but I have a pretty good idea why.  They maybe trying to limit they amount of triathletes competing to limit the risk to everyone, but that’s not it.  They also may be trying to limit the amount of triathletes that they have to offer transfers to if and when they have to cancel the race due to COVID-19, but that’s not it either.  I’m now about 99% sure this race will get canceled next week.

It was mentioned on the IM Louisville Facebook page that the same thing happened to Ironman Ohio 70.3 – they closed registration and then the following week they postponed/canceled it.

So, now I kind of don’t feel like training. I know that I said last week that if the race survives past Week 15 that I would keep training, but I’m not so sure.  Feeling like the ax is going to fall on this race puts a damper on training for me.  Gunner teammate Dave says he’ll probably still train and look for another late fall race to do, but I’m thinking that there won’t be any racing this year for Ironman in the US.  Seeing that COVID-19 numbers are spiking in some areas again says a lot.

So I plan on training this next week while on vacation and doing what I can waiting for a decision to be made.  I just hope it comes sooner rather than later.

TOTALS FOR WEEK 15:

  • Swim:  1 / 1500 yards
  • Bike:   3 rides  /   85.5 miles
  • Run:   5 runs  /  17.3 miles (skipped the Saturday brick and the Sunday long run this week.)

Gunners-2-1

 

Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

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WEEK 14 – June 15 > June 21, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART XIV

A few weeks ago I talked about how my bike was making some clicks, groans, and other annoying noises that I should probably address before they become bigger issues, and as I rode this week it seemed like they were really noisy to me, so I decided to see if I could figure some of them out.  I had heard some people say that the bike shops have 2-3 week backlogs in servicing bikes due to the shops dealing with Covid-19 crazy people who all of a sudden need to have their bikes fixed so that they can ride during the pandemic.  I figured that I have enough skill to handle fixing a bike.  It’s not a car for Pete’s sake. What’s the worst that can happen?

Since most bike noises are bearing related and usually just require some cleaning and repacking with grease, the front fork seemed like it would be a good starting point and something I could easily tackle before I attempt to deal with the chain, derailleur, bottom bracket, and wheel axles.  I probably shouldn’t have.

I often say that I am handy enough to be dangerous.  I know I’m not my father.  My dad was a “jack-of-all-trades” kind of guy, and a master of many.  He could pretty much do anything.  He wasn’t afraid to build an addition to the house, or put on a new roof, or build a small shed/barn.  And as a pipeline welder, he was pretty skilled.  He always said that he could weld anything – anything except a broken heart and a butt crack.  That always got a chuckle out of me as a kid.  He also had another saying though – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  I think every dad probably has said that.  That is pretty good advice.

Technically, my front fork wasn’t broken, but I felt that if I let the popping sound I heard when I turned the handlebars go for too long it could lead to something bad.  So disassembly began by unscrewing a bolt that holds a plastic cap on over the top stem of the fork and covers a couple of bolts that are responsible for holding the handlebars on.  Yes, two bolts clamp the aero bars to the fork.  Not bolt the bars to the fork, but clamp them to it.  You would think that would not be enough to handle the forces that I apply to the bars while riding but somehow they do.  Then the fun began.

Two metal spacer pieces needed to come off and they decided to be a giant pain in the ass.  As I tried my best to not mar them up with pliers, I twisted them back and forth to loosen them and move them up and off the top of the fork.  But they didn’t really want to come off by twisting.  Time to apply a little “persuasion”, and I grabbed a rubber mallet.  That seemed to be working but with every blow to the fork, I was extremely nervous about damaging a very expensive carbon fiber bike frame and fork.  I eventually graduated to using a big screwdriver and prying in my attempt to remove them.  The top one came off pretty easily but the second one required a lot more work but eventually relented and came off.  Under the second one there was another piece that the bearings seemed to be attached to and it for sure wasn’t budging any further.  It was awkwardly shaped enough that any tool I had really wasn’t effective.  So I decided that maybe I should stop before I break something really expensive and admit defeat.  With a couple inches of play now I had room to at least clean the areas where the bearing housing sits on the frame on both the top and underside of the frame, added a dab of grease to the area, and claimed a minor victory.  Then I tried to put it back together.  It was at this point I realized that I should have let a sleeping dog lay, and never messed with it in the first place.  More persuasion with the rubber mallet took place, a pinched finger resulting in a pretty good blood blister occurred, some touch-up paint applied to my now badly scratched up spacers, and with some patience which I don’t normally have, I got the thing back together.

In the end, things seem to have turned out okay.  I relearned that some jobs should probably be left to the pros no matter how long it takes.  And by some stroke of luck, I no longer hear the loud click when I turn the handlebars.

~~~swim~~~bike~~~run~~~repeat~~~

The rest of the week went a little like this:

I opted to do the Monday hour-long swim instead of doing a 30-minute swim on Tuesday and Thursday.  It went okay, but it did wear me out a little.  I think I may alternate my swims by doing one hour-long swim one week and do the two 30-minute swims the next week.  I think it may be beneficial to get used to that hour of suffering.  And I wasn’t too bored to death.

My Saturday three and a half long ride started out okay but ended kind of bad.  The wind direction was favorable for a change and I got at it early (around 6:45am) to beat the heat and the crowded trails.  I had plenty of fuel and water and was hydrating well, but around 2.5 hours into it I could feel the bonk coming on and the heat was getting to me.  But just 10 minutes after that my rear tire went flat just like a week ago.  Not sure what caused it, probably a pinch flat.  Fortunately, there was a shady, grassy area nearby and I took my time to recover a little while I changed the tube.  When the job was done I got back to riding but I wasn’t in a good place.  About 15 minutes from home I rolled by a newly built home that wasn’t yet occupied and refilled my water bottle with cold water from the hose bib.  When I got home I skipped the 30-minute post-ride brick run and opted to rehydrate and cool off in the pool.  I basically staggered into the pool.  After a nap and some lunch, I felt good enough to do an easy 30 minutes of jogging.

I think the bonk was the result of dehydration and a little bit of heat exhaustion.  I was drinking, had salt capsules and really wasn’t overdoing it.  I just wasn’t exceeding my sweat rate with water consumption, I guess.  And the heat was just adding to the issue.  I did 2019 Ironman Chattanooga in 13:37 with 95 degree temps that felt hotter and did not feel like this.  Training is not just doing the workout; it’s not just swimming, biking, and running.  It’s also about learning to recognize the external factors and adapting, too.

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Thankfully I found some shade to do this repair.

The Tuesday run was fine and I texted my Gunner teammates that it felt effortless.  Wednesday’s bike/run brick wasn’t so effortless though.  I think I jinxed myself.  On Friday I ran for an hour and it called for 7.5 minutes of Z4 after 45 minutes.  I did fine on that but I think intervals longer than 3 minutes are tough for me to do because my mind will eventually wander, and my tempo will fall off and then all of a sudden I will realize – “Oh Yeah!  I’m supposed to be running hard right now!”  I’d rather do 2 X 3.5-minute repeats with a minute jog in between.  My mind can handle that I think.

 

TOTALS FOR WEEK 14:

  • Swim:  1 / 3000 yards
  • Bike:   3 rides  /   95 miles
  • Run:   5 runs  /  30 miles

Gunners-2-1
Next week – I attempt to fix the bottom bracket!  Happy Father’s Day!