2019 Running and Triathlon Year in Review

 2019 RUNNING AND TRIATHLON YEAR IN REVIEW

I had another great year of running and creating memorable moments in 2019.  So very thankful that I can still do what I enjoy doing and reflecting back on the memories I made.  I have kept track of my running miles since 1989, so I only tally up the number of runs, miles, and time spent running in my stats.  Here’s how 2019 went for me with running and triathlon.

JANUARY – Not much to reflect upon here.  Most were treadmill runs and nothing out of the ordinary.

  • Total Runs:  14
  • Average Weekly Miles:  22.4
  • Total Hours:  11.8
  • Total Miles:  89.5

 

FEBRUARY – Another winter month to get through and focus on recovery.

  • Total Runs:  10
  • Average Weekly Miles:  15
  • Total Hours:  9
  • Total Miles:  60

 

MARCH – Ironman Chattanooga training begins! I chose to be a little loose with the training this time around starting out by following the “Just Finish” plan but then decided to commit to the competitive plan like usual.  I did drop the swimming down considerably, mostly just doing two 45-minute swims per week.  The monthly totals for March reflect what miles the beginning stages of the plan prescribes, plus some time off for a trip to Nashville to see some colleges with Rebecca.

  • Total Runs:  12
  • Average Weekly Miles:  12.1
  • Total Hours:  7
  • Total Miles:  48.3

 

APRIL – Weekly training going well, as long as I don’t ruin things for myself.  For example –  I’m My Own Worst Enemy

  • Total Runs:  16
  • Average Weekly Miles:  23.8
  • Total Hours:  14
  • Total Miles:  95

 

MAY – Still swim/bike/run training and getting into the swing of things.

  • Total Runs:  18
  • Average Weekly Miles:  24.8
  • Total Hours:  13.3
  • Total Miles:  99

 

JUNE – I officially kicked off the racing season this month with a 5K and a sprint triathlon in June.  (See below for the race reports.)

 

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Me with my Short Run on a Long Day 5K age group medal post-race, trying to stay dry.

 

  • Total Runs:  20
  • Average Weekly Miles:  30
  • Total Hours:  17.5
  • Total Miles:  119

 

JULY – Time for a vacation and some more racing!

 

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The final stretch of the 2019 Manteno Tri.

 

  • Total Runs:  20
  • Average Weekly Miles:  33
  • Total Hours:  19.5
  • Total Miles:  130

 

AUGUST – It got hot just as the training ramped up big time.

 

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Just two Ironman trainees wondering why we love this sport so much.

 

  • Total Runs:  19
  • Average Weekly Miles:  38.4
  • Total Hours:  23.4
  • Total Miles:  154

 

SEPTEMBER – September came with the wrapping up of 30-weeks of Ironman training and racing a very hot 2019 Ironman Chattanooga.  Even with the heat and all the suffering, it was an epic day.

 

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The first 100 feet of the Ironman Chattanooga marathon leg.

 

  • Total Runs:  19
  •  Average Weekly Miles:  36.7
  • Total Hours:  22.5
  • Total Miles:  146.6

 

OCTOBER – I debated with myself as to whether I should defer the Chicago Marathon to 2020 seeing that it was two weeks after Ironman Chattanooga, but I committed to it and decided to see if I could parlay all that Ironman training into another Boston Marathon qualifier.  I did!  But not by much.

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If it wasn’t for the crappy winds, the day would have been perfect marathon running weather.  
  • Total Runs:  15
  • Average Weekly Miles:  24
  • Total Hours:  13.5
  • Total Miles:  95.7

 

NOVEMBER – Looking back at 2018, November 2019 was almost a mirror image in terms of the stats below.  I ran a couple of races, which probably did more damage to me than good.

2019 ACE Wheaton Hot Cider Hustle Saturday (30 of 1951)
The start of the 2019 Hot Cider Hustle, Wheaton, IL.  I’m in 2nd place!  It didn’t last long.
  • Total Runs:  13
  • Average Weekly Miles:  21
  • Total Hours:  12
  • Total Miles:  84

 

DECEMBER – I paid for the four races I did, which ended up causing me some weird leg left leg/knee pain.  I never had pain in the rear portion of the leg/knee area before.  It wouldn’t hurt during the run really, but afterward, I would have some dull pain that would linger.  I would rest it a few days and then feel fine only to go back out and get the same result.  I decided to shut down running on December 26th for the rest of the year.

  • Total Runs: 12
  • Average Weekly Miles: 17.9
  • Total Hours: 11
  • Total Miles: 71.5

 

2019 RUNNING TOTALS

  • Total Runs:  188
  • Average Weekly Miles:  25
  • Total Hours:  174.5
  • Total Miles:  1193.2

 

LIFETIME RUNNING TOTALS (31st Year of Running)

  • Total Lifetime Runs:  4777 – 154 runs per year average
  • Total Lifetime Hours:  3509.5 – 113 hours per year average
  • Total Lifetime Miles:  26188 – 844 miles per year average

 

2019 RACE REPORTS

I had a pretty successful year racing again, getting some more age group and finisher medals to add to my collection.  Here are the summaries with a link to the race recaps.

 

TRIATHLON REVIEW

I think I had a pretty good year with triathlon.  Ironman training went well and ended with a very good effort on an extremely hot day in Chattanooga.  And I medaled in the other two sprint tri’s that I did, which is always the goal.  I’m really looking forward to another year of racing.

SWIM TOTALS:   Total Swims:  34  /  Total Distance:  69,461 yards (39.5 miles)

BIKE TOTALS:  Total Rides:  132  /  Total Miles:  3694

 

GOALS FOR 2020

In May I registered for a race that had piqued my interest.  The race is called the “Big Hill Bonk” (read about it here: My First Ultramarathon?) and is in Beloit, Wisconsin in early April 2020.  It’s an elimination/last runner standing type race format in which you run a 4.16-mile loop in an hour and keep doing that until only one runner is left.  So this run could be my first ultramarathon if I decide to keep going past eight loops.  I was training pretty well for it and starting to build some decent weekend long run miles, but the leg/knee injury thing has screwed up my training.  I think I will still be able to get to the starting line and get in enough loops to push me over 50K.

I decided to take a year off from running the Chicago Marathon.  I have legacy status, so I should be able to sign up again in 2020 for the 2021 race if I want to.  My Gunner teammates and I were discussing doing another Ironman in 2020, but I’m not sure how serious everyone is.  We’re at the point that we have done the races nearest to us and may to commit to traveling farther to do a different race, or just sign up for one we have already done.  A lot of the fun in doing them is experiencing a new race locale.  I hear that Ironman is returning to Idaho in 2021, so I definitely have it on my must-do list.  If the Gunners shoot for another go-around I will definitely be in.  I just have to fit it around getting my youngest off to college.  I’m not missing that.

If the Ironman thing doesn’t pan out and I survive the Big Hill Bonk run, I may look to sign up for a 100-mile ultramarathon.  I have a local friend who is fond of the Tunnel Hill 100 Miler in southern Illinois, but I have also eyed the Hennepin 100 race out by Sterling, Illinois.  We’ll see.  Got to get some experience first.

 

 

 

2019 Minocqua Turkey Trot 5K

2019 Minocqua Turkey Trot 5K – The race that will be forever known as the “YOU ASSHOLE!” race.

When:  11/28/2019

Where:  Torpy Park, Minocqua, Wisconsin

Distance:  5K-ish (actual distance was 2.9 miles)

Results:  21:16 / 13th Overall / 12th Place Male Overall / 1st Place M50-59 Age Group

Link to the Overall Results

The family was up north in Minocqua for Thanksgiving and four of us decided that doing the local turkey trot would be fun.  Ben had already looked at the previous results from last year and figured he could easily beat the winner’s time by a couple of minutes.  I was glad to see we could save a few bucks by signing up as a family, $90 for the four of us instead of $30 each on race day!  What we hadn’t planned on was the snowstorm the day before.

The snowstorm caused the race director to alter the course and eliminate the trail portion of the run.  The course was now changed to an out and back.  The town took care of the snow for the most part, but the sidewalk and the streets we would run on still had some snow.  Fortunately, due to the sand they throw around up there on the streets, the footing was pretty good.

So we all showed up, registered and then Kari and I went back to the car to keep warm while the real runners, Ben and Emily, went for a pre-race warm-up.

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Trying to stay warm on a cold upper Wisconsin Thanksgiving morning.

The start time approached and we all started gathering around the start banner.  Ben had keyed on a kid wearing a Ripon College cross country shirt and figured he would stay with him until the end and out-kick him.  Emily joined me and said she was going to run easy, which meant to go my pace, and I was glad to have the company.  Kari took her spot away from the front and then the countdown began.  8…  7…  6…  I hate when they do this because some guy always will jump the gun and go on 1, but here we were.  1…  GO!

The race start was narrow and fed us almost immediately into a more narrow sidewalk, and that is when the festive mood of the race changed for me.  A woman runner started to run almost directly at me from the left and I thought she was going to run into me so I held my arm up and kept her from bowling me over.

“YOU SHOVED ME, YOU ASSHOLE!”

For the record, I didn’t shove her.  She didn’t even lose her balance.  She just didn’t get to run into me like she was about to do.  I explained to her that I was just keeping her from knocking me down, but damn, she was angry enough about it to call me an asshole.  But now I was a little miffed.  When you are a slow runner you shouldn’t be starting at the front of the race where the faster runners belong, and if you are going to cut someone off you better understand that the person you are cutting off isn’t going to like it.  Why can’t these races just be fun and not end up with some weird, screwed-up occurrence?  Happy Thanksgiving to you too, lady.

So with that incident on my mind, I tried to find a comfortable pace to run and try not to slip and fall on the snow-covered sidewalk.  Emily and I made our way to the side street and to the turnaround point without any further issues.  There were a couple of younger guys ahead of me wearing turkey outfits and I decided that I didn’t want to get beat by a couple of turkeys, so I started working on pulling them in.   Emily had also decided to push ahead and leave me in her snowy dust.  The first turkey I caught pretty quickly but it wasn’t until about a half-mile left of the race that I caught the second one.  Another runner was ahead of me and I passed him as I was starting my last all-out kick, but he still had a kick left and then blew past me and started racing a high school kid up ahead that we were getting close to.  I finished alone without any further challenges.

I looked at my watch and saw that the GPS recorded a distance of 2.90 miles and Ben and Emily said the same.  The course was a little short, but no big deal.

Being called an “asshole” aside, it was a pretty good race for all four of us.  Ben implemented his race plan and waited until 20 feet left to take the air out of the other kid and beat him by a second, winning the race.  I think Ben enjoyed toying with his prey until the final moments.  He won’t deny it.  Emily was also first on the women’s side and both of them got turkeys for their wins.  Kari was also on the podium with a 3rd place in her age group.

When we got home I was explaining to everyone what I did to get called an “asshole” and I demonstrated what she did with my daughter Rebecca.  As I got close to Rebecca she instinctively put her arm up to keep me from running into her.  There, I am vindicated!

 

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2019 Hot Cider Hustle 8-Mile Race Report

Hot Cider Hustle 8-Mile Race

When:  11/02/2019

Where:  Danada Forest Preserve, Wheaton, Illinois

Distance:  8 Miles

Results:  57:32 / 9th Overall / 8th Place Male Overall / 2nd Place M55-59 Age Group

I started running this race in 2011 and this was my 5th time running it.  It’s a fun race that is unique – an 8-miler, which you don’t see very often, it’s run in a nature preserve on mostly chipped limestone trail that meanders through some scenic Illinois prairie, and finishes the last half-mile or so on a grass horse track.

My goal for this race is always the same, finish the 8-miles in less than an hour and place in the age group and take home a medal.  Mission accomplished!

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This race starts at 9am but I have a habit getting there early to nab a parking spot in the main parking lot.  Again, Mission Accomplished!

I did a little shake-out run to see if I was dressed warm enough and was satisfied with what I had on.   After a couple of bathroom trips and reading the paper in the car it was time to head to the start line.

The start line has this funnel start in which only one runner can pass through at a time, which is really an odd way of doing it, but there may be some method to that madness.  Since this is a trail run and it’s only so wide, this gets the runners to spread out.  The first banner in the starting area said 7-minute miles, then 8, 9 and so on.  I came back from another quick heartrate boosting jog I took my spot in the 7-minute spot.  I was by myself.  I was looking around and it appeared no one else was going to join me.  Really?  None of you runners back there can beat a 56-year-old guy?  I noticed one guy wearing a North Central hat and said get in front of me and he was turning me down saying that he really wasn’t in racing shape.  Really?  You’re a former runner of the top DIII Cross Country running school in the nation and you don’t think you have a chance of beating me or the rest of these guys?!  I got behind him and told him just not to run too fast because I didn’t want to lose sight of him and get lost.

2019 ACE Wheaton Hot Cider Hustle Saturday (30 of 1951)
North Central guy and me 1-2 out of the gate.  I’M IN SECOND!  In retrospect, I should have started first and then I could claim that I lead the race for a while!  Oh well.  North Central guy lead from start to finish winning the race.

The guy doing the announcing yelled everything like it was the most exciting info you could hear and he always went up in pitch at the end.  Things like how to line up, when the race was starting, etc., he made it sound exciting.  He counted down to zero and an air horn blew and off we went.

North Central guy and I were 1-2 out of the gate and I was already throwing out my usual pre-race run plan, start comfortable and run negative mile splits.  Nope, I redlined it from the start.  After the first turn, I lost sight of North Central guy and started hearing the footsteps of others behind me.  By the half-mile mark, I was passed by a group of 3 runners, including the top woman and was now in 5th place.  Everyone ahead of me was younger until about the 3-mile mark when I finally got passed by another guy with grey hair wearing shorts.  He was running at a good clip and put some distance on me in no time.  And then I was alone again, which is where I find myself in every race.

At one point I passed a couple of high school kids monitoring the course to make sure that the runners don’t turn off course and they cheered me.  I told them to cheer nice and loud for the next runner so I could get a feel how far back the next guy was.  They didn’t let me down, and I heard loud cheering about 40-seconds later.  Nice.

Around 4.25-miles into the race, I encountered a girl who was right ahead of me on the course, right after a point in the course where those behind were supposed to turn right and follow the loop.  Since only one girl had passed me early in the race I knew right away that she didn’t make the turn.  I asked her if she missed it and she said she decided to only run five miles of the course, pulled out her phone and that was the last I saw of her.

The rest of the race went pretty much how I expected it to go.  I had brought along a gel, which seems kind of unnecessary for a race lasting less than an hour, but I couldn’t resist and started taking small nibbles from it.  I’m glad I did because it did feel like I was suffering less.

When I would pass a turn I would look back and I could see a runner wearing a blue singlet behind me.  He had been back there a while so I was hoping that the kick I had planned for the last mile or two would be enough to keep him at bay.  Then I got to the portion of the course where the 5K turnaround was located and hit a wall of slow walkers not even halfway done with the 3.1 miles.  This gets me going because they should know that they need to stay right and not block the rest of the racers.  I did a lot of shouting “SHARE THE TRAIL!” at these people, and not in the same way the announcer dude was shouting stuff.

I finally made it to the horse track for the finish and was in the final turn when the guy in the blue singlet finally caught me and passed me.  Got me riled a little knowing that he had been back there the whole time and waited to the very last 1/4-mile to overtake me, but whatever, that’s racing.  I finished and was glad to be done.

2019 ACE Wheaton Hot Cider Hustle Saturday (1021 of 1951)
A little beat, but felt like I had a good race.

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Results:  Hot Cider Hustle 8-Mile Results

​2019 Chicago Marathon Race Report

2019 Chicago Marathon

October 13, 2019 / Chicago, Illinois

Time:  3:34:46

Place:  8487th Place Overall / 6610th Male / 243rd Male 55-59 Age Group

 

Another Chicago Marathon is in the books!  Here’s a “By-the-Numbers” look at my race.

– Number of Chicago Marathons I have started and completed.

21 – Total number of marathons run (including Ironman finishes).

3 – Where my finish ranks for the fastest marathon finish times for me (3:25 in 2016 & 3:28 in 2015, all at Chicago and all in my fifties.).

3 – Number of times meeting the Boston Marathon qualifying standard, all at Chicago.

13 – Seconds below the BQ at this race (3:35:00 is the BQ for my current age/sex).

0.000000000001 – Percent chance that I will get into the Boston Marathon with that slim margin.

0.0 – Percent chance that I will even apply for the Boston Marathon with that time.

2 – Number of weeks after completing Ironman Chattanooga that I ran this race.

97 – Minutes faster I finished the Chicago Marathon compared to the marathon split at Ironman Chattanooga (5:11).

27.1 – Miles that my Garmin watch recorded for the run.  It was off by 2/3’s of a mile by the halfway point.  It’s hard to plan splits when your watch gets off.

8:12 – Average pace minutes per mile (I was aiming for 8 min/mile).

7:13 – Best mile split, Mile 1

 

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Feeling good back downtown in the first half of the race.

 

8:56 – Worst mile split, Mile 26

3 – The number of seconds Emily’s grandfather yelled at me that I was wasting by stopping to kiss Kari when I saw her and the group of family and friends that came to watch Emily and I (okay maybe just Emily) race.  I wasn’t expecting to see Kari that early in the morning because she had a long night on Saturday.  So I took 3 seconds to appreciate that.  Worth it.  Should have spent four seconds.

1:45:00 – Halfway (13.1 miles) split, a perfect 3:30 pace split (Nailed it!).

 

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Just crossed the 13.1 Mile mark timing mat at exactly 1:45:00.

 

– Number of times I stopped for a bathroom break.

1 – Number of times I peed into an empty Gatorade bottle shoved discreetly down my pants in the start corral before the start.

4 – Number of guys who stood next to me in the corral and whizzed openly on the curb.

41 – Degrees Fahrenheit at the start of the race.

45786 – Number of finishers.

187 – Average run cadence/steps per minute for me.

156 – Average heart rate/beats per minute for me.  Seems high.  I wasn’t working that hard.

2919 – Number of calories burned, according to my Garmin.

51331 – Number of steps total for the day.

6 – Mile where you turn back south and get a whiff of the strong smell of breakfast being served at some restaurant along the course.  It makes me angry every time because I want to stop and eat pancakes and can’t.

1 – Number of times I said to myself during the race that I am not enjoying this anymore, somewhere around Mile 8.  Yeah, I know, pretty early on and it was due to the cold wind that was blowing on me all of a sudden.  The wind was pretty strong and cold at times.

2/3 – Portion of the race that I kept my gloves on for.

Numerous – Number of spectators I saw trying to cross the gauntlet of runners to get to the other side of the street, which is really a dumb idea and really ticks me off.

1 – Number of spectators I saw wipe out trying to cross the gauntlet of runners to get to the other side of the street, landing with a pretty hefty thud, which caused me to laugh and call him a dumbass.

2 – The number of Ben’s friends (Adam and Colin) still hanging out around Mile 22 that I saw and High-5’d.  It was a welcome boost.

4’9″ – The estimated height of the girl that I spent the majority of the race running with, usually behind her because she had such an arm swing going that I was afraid she would punch me with it.  It’s interesting that after a couple of miles into the race that you will be running with the same people for the majority of the rest of it.

3:25 – The finish time I was predicting for myself at the halfway point.

3:30 – The finish time I was predicting for myself at the 20 Mile mark.

3:35 – The finish time I was praying for with one mile to go so that I would be under the time cutoff for a Boston Qualifier.

 

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The finish line was dead ahead.

 

– Number of hills of any significance on this course – located at Roosevelt Road, AKA Mt. Roosevelt, which comes at Mile 26.  It’s a nothing hill but comes at the end and I started to cramp up and had to walk some of it.

0 – Desire to do this race again.

 

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Exhausted, glad to be done.  But the journey wasn’t over just yet…

 

 

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Okay, that’s enough of the numbers.  Here is the report in a nutshell.  The race went pretty well for me.  I was a little concerned that I would not have been recovered enough after finishing Ironman Chattanooga two weeks prior to running this race.  But seeing that Chattanooga was so hot and that I walked/jogged the vast majority of it, the Ironman didn’t really beat me up that much.  I actually felt pretty good after it.  So I decided to push myself in Chicago and shoot for a 3:30.

I had one layer too many on at the start and the windbreaker that was getting me too warm and making me sweat was handed off to Kari in the early miles.  The temperature was awesome, but the occasional gust of wind would jolt you pretty strongly.  I was taking on water and Gatorade as well as hitting the gels every 30 minutes, which I increased in the latter part of the race.  I felt that my energy level was good, but my muscles were just not responding and getting more tired and sore as the miles added up.

 

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Kari knows how to spectate this course.  She was able to catch me as I shuffled through the last mile toward the finish.

 

 

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I wouldn’t say that I hit a wall, but I did feel like the last 5K was a battle of will for me.  I really dug deep in that last mile and a half.  I could see that my pace was slowing even though I felt like I was giving it everything I could.  It seemed like I was passing a lot of people at the end, but that’s not unusual.  Then I finished and was relieved.

Now the fun part starts.

After crossing the finish I tried to keep moving forward.  My hands started to tingle and I could feel myself starting to get a little lightheaded.  I grabbed a water bottle and started drinking it.  A medal was placed around my neck by some bearded guy and I worked my way through the chute.  One thing about the marathon finish chute is that there isn’t any place to sit down.  That’s by design, they don’t want you to stop moving or it will clog up everything for the remaining runners coming in, and it is in your best interest to keep moving so you don’t start cramping.

It wasn’t long and a girl ahead of me dropped to the ground and started screaming in pain, raising her leg up.  Clearly, she was having a bad leg cramp, but the volunteers didn’t have a clue what to do with her.  As I stepped around her I assured myself that they would help her, and I did that because I didn’t want to BE her.  My goal was to make it to the Medical tent and be close to it if things went further south for me.  As I got there I was met by two guys, Jeff and Kyle, a couple of nice guys, probably med students, who started peppering me with questions.  I thought I was passing their test, but they decided to get me in the tent and get some blankets on me.   A doctor approached and peppered me with more questions, one of which was “what’s your bib number?”  Hell, I couldn’t remember it.  I don’t think I ever really committed it to memory.  It had an 11 and some 6’s and 7’s.  “Okay, let’s go sit down.”

They sat me on the cot in what I could tell was a pretty empty medical tent and made me lay down, and that’s when all hell broke loose.  My calves seized up and I began screaming.  Loudly.  Then they had a great idea to shove a foam roller under my legs and have two massage therapists grab my calves like they were squishing Play-doh between their fingers.  That prompted more screaming now fortified with some very strong expletives.  They were fighting me and I was fighting back.  I finally convinced them that I needed to stand up, which thankfully for them they allowed, because had they not I would have summoned all strength that I had to murder each and every one of them.

Guess what?  The cramps went away as soon as I was on my feet for a few seconds.  I apologized, they understood and we tried a different approach.  I was now shivering and blankets were piled on me.  After a little walking, I sat in a chair and they brought this thing over called a “bear hugger,” which was a warming blanket that was heated to 43 degrees Celcius.  They offered warm chicken broth and Gatorade and I did my best to get that in me.  It was now pretty clear, I was dehydrated and paying for it.  But at least I was now warm and toasty.

In retrospect, an IV probably would have done me wonders but I was reluctant to ask for one.  I had gotten them post-race before years ago with no issues, but one time at the Rockford Marathon I requested one and the next thing I knew I was in an ambulance taking a trip to the hospital.  I did not want that to happen, so I kept my mouth shut.  Also, getting an IV would have required me to lay down again and there was no way in HELL I was going to do that.

After warming up and doing some more walking around, they allowed me to leave.  Actually, I think it was more along the lines of they no longer needed to waste their time with me.  I asked where the Red Gear Check tent was and they offered to get me a golf cart to take me there.  Really?  After I called each and every one of you an MFer, you are going to cart me there?  Sweet!  So I hopped in “GOLF CART 1” as the lady driver broadcast herself into her portable radio, informing maybe the other two people listening that she was giving me a lift.  The ride was to the Red Gear Check tent was interesting.  Instead of putting me in a wheelchair and pushing me there in a couple of minutes, we instead drove what seemed like 90 MPH down the sidewalk along Lake Shore Drive for several minutes, while Helen Wheels kept blowing a whistle to get people to get out of her way.  I was crouched over trying not to get tossed out of the cart while still clutching the three blankets around me to keep me warm.  We passed the backside of the Red Gear Check tent at what seemed full speed and I really wished that I had just walked there instead, and then we pulled into an open gate while other workers looked at us like this was quite unusual.  She drove me as close to the Red Gear Check tent as she could without hitting other marathon finishers walking past.  I could read their faces – “How the hell did this guy get carted to the Red Gear Check tent?!  Must be a celebrity or VIP or something.”  Hardly, just some guy who just had experienced the strangest 60-minutes post-marathon of his life.  Then Helen Wheels barked into her microphone “GOLF CART ONE RETURNING TO THE MEDICAL TENT,” and that was the last I saw of her.

But wait, there’s more.

So I get my checked bag from the Red Gear Check tent and was so glad that I had checked a hoodie and some pants.  The warmth felt great after a 90 MPH ride in a golf cart with Helen Wheels on a now 48-degree day.

Then it hit me, I had to walk back to the hotel.  Not sure that it was even a full mile, but at the pace I was shuffling at it was going to take me a while.  Where the heck was Helen Wheels when I needed her?  I spotted some port-o-potties and peed for the first time since 7:15am, then I shuffled over and saw the Runner Reunite area, and since the big inflatable labeled G-H was nearby I made my way close enough to see if I could see Ben or Kari standing there.  That was never in the meet-up plan, so I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t see them.  Exiting Jackson Street back onto Michigan Avenue was miserable.  Tons of people all trying to squeeze out right there and now I was getting a little too warm.  Thankfully I made it to Michigan Avenue, turned north and that’s when I saw my tall son towering over the rest of the pedestrians.  He looked relieved to find me.  As we shuffled down Adams Street I apologized for my slow tempo, and I could tell things weren’t right.  I was getting nauseated.  When we got to Dearborn Street I spied a large planter next to the road and basically barfed up all of the liquid that I had just put in me in the Medical tent.  I instantly felt better.

Kari was walking to meet us and was briefed and we went back to the hotel where I showered up, put on some clean, warm and comfortable clothes, and then started walking to the car.  On the way, we offered a homeless person one of the blankets I had been given in the Medical tent, and it was gratefully accepted.  As we headed out of downtown Chicago I caught a glimpse of some runners still on the course running in Chinatown at Mile 21.

After some restless attempt at sleeping in the car on the way home, upon getting home I walked inside and said hello to my daughters Ashley and Rebecca and laid down on the bed and slept.  After eating some soup Kari picked up for me and some salty potato chips and sugary drinks I started coming around.

And my friends wonder why I declare after every marathon that I will never do another one.

Now they will wonder why I keep signing up.

It ALMOST Beat Me

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 23 – Monday 8/5/2019 – Sunday 8/11/2019

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.

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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.

 

WEEK 23 TRAINING TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 4200 total yards

Rides: 4 total, 89 total miles

Runs: 3 total, 24 total miles

 

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Keep moving forward!

 

 

Race Report: 2019 Manteno Triathlon

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When:  Saturday, July 27, 2019 – 8 am

Where:  Manteno, Illinois

Distance:  Sprint – 14.21 Total Miles

Results: Official time 1:04:30 / 17th Overall / 2nd Place 55-59 Male Age Group

Results Link:  Manteno Tri 2019 Race Results

Third time racing in Manteno and I am sure I will be back again.  I have done this race two times before and it is super fun.  It’s a great way to start a Saturday.

 

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The required transition set-up photo.

 

I talked with some of the great people I know from FNRC who were there to do the race, then I got my transition area set up and had Kari snap a picture and then it was time to get ready to race.

 

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I offered James (right) some advice for a first-timer and met with Dan (left) for a quick photo.

 

SWIM:  400 Yards, 9:45, 4th in A/G, 57th Overall

I don’t bother bringing the wetsuit to transition for this race because the past two years it has been a non-wetsuit race.  I found the water to be pretty warm and comfortable during the brief pre-race swim.  I waited for our silver cap wave to start and then waded into the water.

Two things usually occur for me when I start a triathlon swim:  I either freak out about the pace, start hyperventilating, and then pray that I will finish this swim, or I will start thinking about my bike strategy.  After passing around the one turn buoy, I found myself thinking about the bike.  Much better than thinking about drowning.  I must have been swimming at a good pace.

I swam strong and as I sighted into the sun for the Swim Out exit, I pushed the pace a little harder.  I was a little surprised that I was a little slower this year than last year, but not too bad of a swim for me.

 

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Exiting the swim always makes for a pretty happy camper.

 

T1:  1:07, 2nd in A/G, 29th Overall

I ran pretty quick to my bike and messed around with socks, again.  This time was a little better because I used the little no-show type socks and they went on pretty quick.  I felt a little under pressure because there was someone spectating by the fence watching me go through T1.  Maybe they were trying to pick up pointers and learned that wearing socks on the bike is a waste of time.

BIKE: 11 Miles, 30:44, Average speed 21.5 mph, 3rd in A/G, 18th Overall

 

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Hammer time!

 

I had decided while swimming to bike as hard as I could, so I hit it hard out of the gate and quickly pegged my heart rate to the max.  It wasn’t long until I realized that I better back off a little, and fortunately, there was a strong tailwind heading out aiding in my bike hard plan.  My bike computer was showing 25 mph and I was like – wow, this is fast.  I passed a couple of riders who were just a little slower, but a lot younger than me.  Whenever I pass someone I always wonder if the gauntlet that I am throwing down will be picked up and have my face slapped with it.  This time I did get passed back by these two riders just before the first turnaround before the third mile.  But here’s where they ran into trouble.  The first guy did this hairpin u-turn in a hard gear and struggled to get back up to speed while I had planned for that and easily passed him again.  The other guy was a little more ahead of me but his issue was he was riding a road bike and we were now riding into a pretty strong headwind with me taking full advantage of being on an aero bike and riding with a full rear disc wheel.  My speedometer was showing 18 mph now.  I passed him and I figured if he lasted this pace he might catch me on the run because he looked pretty fit.  I never saw the other guy again.  This is where aero makes all the difference.

T2:  0:46, 2nd in A/G, 18th Overall

I forgot to hit my Lap button on my watch but I realized it right as I was running out with my visor and race belt in my hand.  The reason I forget is mainly due to my hands being busy holding the handlebars of my bike and I would have issues if I tried messing with my watch while running with my bike.  But in the end, it was one of my fastest bike-to-run transitions.

RUN:  3.1 miles, 22:06, 7:07 per mile pace ave., 1st in A/G, 16th Overall

I settled into a comfortable pace and tried to keep working on catching the next runner ahead of me.  Within the first half-mile, the guy that I had passed twice on the bike caught me and passed me hard.  There was no way I could go at that pace.  He was moving.  The running was going well.  At the first aid station, I grabbed a cup of water and threw it on me, which startled the little kid that handed it to me.  I did manage to grab another and get a quick drink.  I did the same thing at the second aid station and got a similar reaction from the teen that handed it to me.  #winning

At about 2.5 miles into the 5K, I saw my nemesis – Michael B. – ahead of me.  I was catching him.  But at the next turn, he took a look back and saw me and then the race was on.  I was slowly reeling him in, but as we passed the 3-mile mark, I had nothing left and he crossed the line four seconds ahead of me.  I had spoken with him before the race and asked him if he was “going to kick my butt again.”  He started in with some lame excuse about some lame running injury and I just said to keep your excuses, Mr. Soul Crusher.  I wonder where I could have saved four seconds?  He’s a much faster swimmer than I am, we are pretty even on the bike, and I was a minute and a half faster on the run.  Then it dawned on me – socks.

 

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Me and my 4 second stealing, low-cut socks trying to chase down Michael.

 

 

 

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My second place would have been third place in the age group this year, but the guy who was tops in the M55-59 A/G was the overall Masters M winner, so he was taken out of the A/G standings, thank goodness.  Four minutes separated me from the guy next to me.

 

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The top 21 finishers.

 

 

 

Race Report: 2019 Short Run on a Long Day 5K

When:  Wednesday, June 19, 2019 – 7pm

Where:  Frankfort, Illinois

Distance:  5K – 3.1 Miles

Results:  21:31 Official time / 25th Overall / 2nd Place 55-59 Male Age Group

Results Link:  Race Results

I could make this an easy, two paragraph wrap-up, but why make it easy on myself?

Race day morning a coworker who works out at a local fitness club advised that a man had died while working out at her club the day before.  Knowing that I have a history of running she was quizzing me about why I thought he had died.  I could only speculate, but I figured that he probably had cardiac arrest related to heart disease and was triggered by exertion he was unprepared for.  She wanted to be assured that she wasn’t going to code out as well, so I dug up several articles about deaths at fitness clubs and found that the majority of exercise-related deaths are due to exactly what I had thought, they were not fit and had a history of heart disease.  But exercise in moderation is one of the best ways of preventing such deaths.  Her fears were soothed and said she won’t worry about dying on the treadmill.

But the conversation kind of stoked my fears a little.  My father died of heart disease at the age of 52.  He was a smoker, my mom fried a lot of our meals, and did no exercise whatsoever.  I took note of that at the age of 15 and have tried to live my life without such outside bad habits, and I started running in my early 20’s.  But I often find myself running short, high-intensity races at high heart rates which make me feel like I’m maxing myself out and wonder if I’m going to blow up my heart.  Thankfully, that hasn’t happened, and I am aware of the warning signs.  But it’s always kind of in the back of my mind.  As I stood on the starting line the thought of blowing up wasn’t even on my mind.  It was time to beat as many as I could.  Enough of the doom and gloom, on with the race report.

For a race that celebrates the first day of summer with a Wednesday night 5K, it was anything but summer-like.  Air temp was about 63 degrees and it was drizzling.  I debated as to whether I should race in a singlet or not but decided to do so.  I joined the local running club group photo and then did my warm up.

 

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I donned my new FNRC visor for the picture! (photo credit I believe goes to Susan Danforth’s phone – borrowed from Facebook.)

 

The course was changed this year, pretty much running it in reverse from previous years I have run this race.  I didn’t mind the change, except sometimes when you are seeing things you normally see in the latter parts of the race early on it kind of messes with me for some reason.  I put that behind me and tried to settle in without going out too fast, but as usual, I failed.

There’s a guy that runs this race pushing his handicapped wife in a racing stroller and in the past he has kicked my butt.  It’s always humbling when he beats me, and I marvel at his strength and ability.  He quickly jumped ahead of me and I decided to jump in behind him.  On the flats, he would put a pace or two on me, but when we hit the little rises in the road I would pull him back in.  As much as I try to hold back early in a race and run negative splits, I never do because I can’t turn off the competitive aspect of it.  I feared that he was making the same mistake that I was, heading out too strong, and we were going to pay for it later.

A little before the first mile I passed him and then worried about him the rest of the way.  I went through the first mile split in 6:42 according to my watch, and decided to pull back just a touch as we headed up the road and onward to the bike trail.  I was passed by another runner that had recently had a kidney transplant and said to him that it was me usually chasing him down.  He laughed and I asked how his health was and was said he was great and thanked me for asking.  Then he pulled away.

I went through the second mile split at 6:53 and was satisfied with that.  A girl passed me and I said “go get it” and she encouraged me to grab on and go with her, but I told her I was waiting for another 1/2 mile before kicking.  I mistakenly thought the course would continue on the path a little longer, but we turned off and hit the streets again.  After a couple of turns, we made it to the ending straight to the finish.  I glanced back at the trail and could see the stroller pushing runner not far back.  A quick look at my watch showed that I had about a 1/4 mile left so I kicked hard up the hill back to the finish and was all alone.  My watch showed 21:25, which is always quicker than the official time at this race.  I’m not sure why that happens, but the official time is always slower than my watch.  I was maybe five steps back from the starting line at the start, so there’s not much of a time difference there.

 

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I cooled down and then went and joined some others from the running club to cheer on the rest of the runners.  After a while, I got a little cold and went and changed into some dry clothes and waited for the results.  Glad to hear my name called for 2nd in my age group.  There’s lots of great competition at this race and to get an A/G medal is special.  I had a pretty good race.

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2019 ET Batavia Triathlon Race Report

When:  06/09/2019 –  6:30 am

Where:  Batavia, Illinois

Distance:  Sprint:  400 yards (~.25 miles) Swim, 16.1 Mile Bike, 4.1 Mile Run

Results:  1:24:47 – 27th overall, 1/16 M55-59 Age Group

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This race is one of my favorite sprints triathlons to race.  It’s a race that is well executed, has a beautiful locale in the Western suburbs of Chicago, and it has the right balance of distances that play into my strengths as a triathlete.

I skipped this race the morning of the race last year due to a nasty storm that rolled through the area.  I was even heading there in my car when I convinced myself that it was for sure going to be canceled.  I came home and later found out that they eventually waited out the storm and held it anyway.  I was mad at myself for bailing, so this year I was for sure going to race come rain or shine.

 

PRE-RACE WEEKEND

I really overloaded my weekend leading up to the race.  I bought a used boat on Friday and was dealing with that new purchase (Fun!).  On Saturday, my Ironman training plan called for a 3.5-hour ride followed by a 30-minute run that I did with two of my Gunner teammates Dave and Jeff (Fun!).  And if that wasn’t enough, I went with my wife and friend John to see Cheap Trick in concert and stood the whole time (Fun!)!  I was definitely setting myself up for a rough race on Sunday morning, especially after standing at the concert, getting to bed late, and having to get up at 4 am to drive to Batavia.  I spent the concert thinking about what I will need to do to convince myself to get up at that early and go race a triathlon.  I set the alarm and told myself to see how I feel in the morning.

 

RACE DAY MORNING

The alarm went off and I jumped out of bed.  I felt great and was actually excited about racing.  I checked the radar and could see that there was a chance for some rain, but not an orange and red blob on the radar screen like last year, just a friendly green blob.  Green means GO!  I got dressed, grabbed a scone that my daughter had baked and a cup of coffee and I was off.

I know how to drive to Batavia, done it many times.  But I set my GPS for the location I usually park just so I didn’t have to worry about it.  What did I do?  I completely missed the exit ramp for I-88 westbound to Aurora!  I had to drive an additional couple of miles up to Butterfield Road and turn around.  I’m so dumb.  I think I was distracted by a radio program that was talking about “This Day in History” and it was pretty interesting.  Anyway, I realized my mistake soon enough and there was no harm, no foul.

I found a spot to park, unloaded my bike and made my way to transition to get body marked, which I will always contend is the dumbest thing ever.  I will be wearing a number 60 written on my shoulder and my age on my left calf in Sharpie for the rest of the week.  Maybe I will try some of my daughter or wife’s make up remover wipes.

I was pleased to find that my bike would be racked in the second row of bikes, really close to Swim Out.  I like to rack next to the legs of the bike rack, it keeps another bike from being too close on that side and gives me some extra space to throw my transition bag down, because I am still bringing too much junk.

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My bike and all of my junk.  I thought it might rain, so I put my backpack into a garbage bag.  The Ironman bag had my wetsuit in it.

After setting up the bike and my stuff I took a bathroom break and headed to the swimming hole to check out the water.  We were told that the water temp was 70 degrees, and it felt slightly cold to me.  I don’t usually wear a wetsuit for this race because it is short and the water last time was about 74 degrees.  I decided that after dipping my toes into the water I would wear the wetsuit.  I put it on, all by myself for a change, and swam a couple easy laps as a warm up.  I always try to warm up for the swim to get used to the water and to remind myself of the pace I want to keep.

The swim is two loops in a smallish park district swimming hole, which was a former small quarry of sorts from what I can gather.  The bottom is all sand, and on the backside of the loop, I found my hands hitting bottom.  In the past, most people will just start walking this part of the swim and I have done that too.  I try not to run it because it raises my heart rate too high.  I made a mental note that I would probably walk it and then I got in line for the time trial start.

 

RACE TIME!

SWIM

Time:  6:15 – 1:25min/100 yds. – 3rd place AG

PRE-SWIM STRATEGY:  Start easy, don’t go too fast, relax

SWIM REALITY:  GUNNED IT AS HARD AS I COULD!

The race asks you for your predicted time when you sign up and I usually put 8 minutes because I typically swim at about 2 min/100 yds.  When I seeded myself in line I saw a sign for 6 minutes and just joined in.  I knew I would be wearing a wetsuit and might be a little faster, but I wanted to get the swim over with quick and get out on the bike course before it got too crowded.

The race started promptly at 6:30 am right after the National Anthem, and we slowly started getting fed into the water at about five-second intervals.  I was pretty calm and relaxed before getting in, but as soon as my face hit the water after about ten strides I was GUNNING it hard.  Why do I do this?!  It’s like doing an interval in the pool without the benefit of a break afterward!  Anyway, I did rein myself in a little bit, caught a little bit of my breath when I walked a small portion and then calmed myself for the second loop. I must admit, I was expecting a lot of swim traffic, seeing that it’s a two-looper and that there are roughly 30-40 swimmers in the water at one time.  I didn’t have much contact at all.  A few tickles on my feet, but pretty much contact-free.  I got up on my feet on the shallow part a little sooner or else I would have swam into a bunch of walking swimmers ahead of me and started unzipping my wetsuit and made my way out to T1.

I’m glad I seeded myself where I did, and I was a little surprised to see that 6:15 finish.  But I was wearing that wetsuit and it definitely did make me quicker.  The swim finish put me 3rd overall in my age group.  The two triathletes faster than me were 45 and 30 seconds quicker.  Not too shabby of a swim for myself.

T1 – SWIM TO BIKE

TIME:  1:38 – 3rd place AG

PRE-T1 STRATEGY:  Don’t waste time, be methodical, get out quick

T1 REALITY:  GET PUZZLED AS TO HOW THE WATCH I HAVE OWNED FOR TWO YEARS ACTUALLY WORKS, WASTE TIME DRYING OFF FEET TO PUT ON SOCKS ON MY TENDER FEET, GET ANXIOUS ABOUT HOW MUCH TIME I WAS WASTING!

As I ran out of the swim and crossed the timing mat I realized that I needed to hit the button on my watch signaling the change from swim to T1, but I couldn’t remember which button to press!  I guessed and it was the correct one.  Next up was getting the wetsuit off, which typically does not go quickly for me.  But I was using my new XTERRA wetsuit and it’s a little bigger than my old Blue Seventy.  I got it down to my ankles and just gave it a swift pull with my hands.  Came off pretty easy.

For some reason, I don’t fly through transition.  The race announcer was jokingly chiding many of the age group award runner ups who had lost positions to those ahead of them by one or two seconds that they should have spent less time in transition.  I took that to heart.  I need to stop messing around.  The wetsuit is a major time sucker, and then I take the time to dry my feet, attempt to pull on socks over wet feet, and put on my cycling shoes, glasses, and helmet.  I need to forget about socks, not wear a helmet and leave my shoes on the bike and just do a flying mount.  Yeah, two of those three won’t happen, as no helmet gets you a disqualification, and flying mounts are not something 55-year-olds should be taking up.  There’s a reason there are so many folks spectating at BIKE OUT, it’s to see crashes and the stupidity that goes on!  I guess I could bike without socks like some uncivilized knuckle dragger.

I realize I give away some precious seconds to others in transitions, but I was slightly surprised to see that I was once again the 3rd fastest in my age group.  They were 37 and 9 seconds faster than me.

 

BIKE

Time:  46:46 – 4th place AG

PRE-BIKE STRATEGY:  GUN IT AS HARD AS I CAN!

BIKE REALITY:  GUNNED IT AS HARD AS I COULD!

I hopped on the bike and off I went.  There are some plywood covered speed bumps that you have to navigate over right at the start that requires being a little cautious with, and then it’s a left turn and up a short, sharp hill.  This hill surprises a lot of first-time racers at this course, but I had the right gearing and spun up easily.  Then it’s flat and fast for the most part.  There are some hills here and there but they are pretty short-lived, and the downhill portions more than make up for it.

 

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Bike elevation.  The tough climb came around mile 13.

 

There was a girl who was ahead of me wearing an ITU tri suit with her name on the back and I attempted to keep pace with her.  That lasted maybe 3 or 4 miles and she started to pull away.  Her calf showed she was 43 years old, which was certainly impressive to me.  I hoped to catch her later on the run.

With that first hill climb, and the adrenaline of starting the bike I was maxed out on my heart rate and breathing pretty hard.  It wasn’t long though until I settled into my comfort zone and was riding comfortably hard.  I passed a ton of riders in the first half of the ride and had a few overtake me in the second half, but overall I think I did pretty well on this ride.  I had misplaced my bike computer and so I was racing without really having my speed available at a quick glance.  It was kind of a blessing riding by feel and not getting caught up in my pace.  I was a little surprised to see at the end that my watch was showing about 19 mph average, but the official race results have me averaging 20.1 mph.  I’ll take it!

The bike course is usually about 14.5 miles long, but due to construction, they added a detour that increased the course to 16.1 miles.  I didn’t notice it at all really.

Coming back into transition there are some sharp turns at the end of some hills, so you have to have a little caution with that, but I gunned it on in any way.

I dropped to fourth place on the bike segment, with only about 70 seconds separating me from the first place age group bike finisher.

 

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End of the bike ride, coming in hard and fast.

 

 

T2 – BIKE TO RUN

Time:  1:27 – 3rd place AG

PRE-T2 STRATEGY:  Don’t waste time, be methodical, get out quick

T2 REALITY:  Didn’t waste time, was methodical, tried to run on rubbery legs

Nothing surprising here, rack the bike, take the helmet and cycling shoes off, put on running shoes, grab the visor and race belt and put them on while exiting transition.  The only thing I did that robbed time from me was I had a gel flask lying there and I took a quick squeeze from it and a swig of water to wash it down.  There were only 18 seconds between the first place guy and me.  Not too bad.  I’m always quicker in T2, as long as I’m not messing around with socks.

 

RUN

Time:  28:41 – 2nd place AG

PRE-RUN STRATEGY:  Try to hold 7-minute miles, pick off runners one at a time

RUN REALITY:  Held 7-minute miles!  But I got passed by as many as I passed myself

I left T2 and hit the trail and got myself up to a comfortably hard race pace.  I checked the watch a couple of times and saw 6:55/7:05/7:10 pace looking back at me, which I was content with.

Not more than a half mile or so out on the run course there was a turtle on the side of the path taking stock of the parade that was passing him by.  There’s been a lot of turtles this year for some reason.  My first thought was to not get snapped, and then I thought how fast can a turtle be?  I decided to press on as the hare, and stop thinking about the wildlife.

The turnaround on this out and back always seems farther away than it should, but it was about 1.5 miles out.  After turning around and picking up my pace again I saw the girl that had pulled away from me on the bike course.  By mile 2 I caught and passed her, just like I had hoped.  I realized at this point that she was racing the duathlon and not the triathlon, so I wasn’t really competing against her.  She was the overall female winner of the duathlon.  But I had reeled her in just like I had hoped to do.  ALWAYS BET ON THE RUNNER!

It was about 3 miles into the run when a guy sporting a 59 on his calf blew by me like I was standing still.  He was either a duathlete or he had a really slow swim and/or bike.  Since I was second overall in my age group for the run, I assume the guy ahead of me was this 59 year old.  He did, in fact, have a pretty slow bike.

I started kicking around 3.5 miles and finished strong.  The official results have me averaging 6:59 min/mile pace!  Win!

After averaging 4th place or so on the different stages of the race, I moved up to the top spot in the age group after the run.  ALWAYS BET ON THE RUNNER!

 

 

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I was spent at the end of this one.  It might explain why I came home and immediately fell asleep on the couch.

 

 

 

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FIRST PLACE 55-59 MALE AGE GROUP!  ALWAYS BET ON THE RUNNER!

 

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Here’s the link to the official results:  Race Results

 

 

I’d Be A Horrible Judge

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEKS 7 & 8 – Monday 4/15/19 – Sunday 4/28/19

Ironman makes announcements all the time and I usually don’t give them much more than a quick glance.  But this was shared on a couple Facebook group pages and it caught my eye:

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The reason I didn’t pay much attention to it at first is that it looks like your standard “Register Now” announcement for Ironman, and I’m already signed up for it.  But then I read a few comments and realized this was for a relay.  Say what?  An Ironman relay? NO!!!

Immediately I made up my mind that I hated this idea.  A relay for Ironman?  C’mon man, this shouldn’t be.  Triathletes that do Ironman do them for the challenge of doing three tough events in one day, 17 hours typically.  To do just one part doesn’t make any sense to me.  The whole purpose of Ironman was to prove an argument as to who was the toughest athlete of three disciplines, the swimmer doing a 2.4-mile swim, the cyclist racing a century or more, or the runner running a marathon.  Do all three events in one day and find out! – was the reason behind creating Ironman.   (Note:  It’s the runner if you are wondering.  The strongest swimmer never wins the race.  And if you followed Ironman Texas this weekend you witnessed Andrew Starykowicz destroy the bike course only to be caught on the run.  And Daniela Ryf made up a significant time gap on the run to win the women’s title.  Always bet on the runner.  Unless the runner is me, then bet on my buddy Dave.  Actually, always bet on Dave, he’s 3-0 in our Ironman racing.)  But seriously, what are you proving by just doing one segment of the race?  After the swim leg, what do you do while the rest of us are still busting our butts?   I better not hear you call yourself an Ironman.

As I read through the many comments I was seeing a lot of similar reactions to this announcement and I was hitting the “like” button for every comment that I agreed with.

“Give me a break. It’s an Ironman! This cheapens it. The last thing I want is some fresh-legged relay athlete zip past me as I’m actually enduring an Ironman. Save the relays for the Olympic distance. I’m not ripping on the athletes, but the Ironman has been the one true test for individuals in triathlons. That’s the beauty of it. The individual challenge mentally and physically.”

“It’s called Ironman, not Ironmen.”

“It’s about that adversity. I’m signing up for the relay as “me” doing the swim, “myself” on the bike, and “I” for the run!”

But as I sorted through those comments others started making valid points.

“Embrace it. It is good for the preservation of the sport or these races go away.  Those who do the relay many times will do the full.”

“This opens the door to people who have injuries or are thinking of working up to doing a full one day to experience it. The more people outside doing something, the better! Run your race, meet your goals and let others do the same!”

“Sad that people rip on the relay! I’ve done two full Ironmans and now knee injury. This is a great idea. And for all those who knock it, I hope you always stay injury free and continue being able to do fulls. Not everyone is that lucky!”

So now I am conflicted.  I definitely will defend the tradition of the race and what it means to be an Ironman.  But if we can get more people involved, I’m all for that too.  I don’t really know what to expect when I will be racing Chattanooga in late September.  If I see a faster cyclist fly by will I assume he’s doing the relay?  When I’m gassed on the run and someone trots by like they haven’t done the previous 2.4-mile swim and the 116-mile bike ride, will that make me angry?  I’m not sure.  A few commenters mentioned that everyone should do the race their way and not worry about the other group.  I guess I will need to focus on myself like I usually do.  This is why I would make a horrible judge.  If both sides made valid arguments, I wouldn’t be able to make a decision on a winner.

TRAINING FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS

Last week was Easter and we had out of town plans, so I did some creative moving of my workouts and got the job done.  And since I was out of town last weekend I didn’t have time to write my weekly wrap-up of training.  So here are the details from the last two weeks.

Week 7 was jumbled around a little.  I had the opportunity to run with the local running club F’NRC in a group run on Wednesday, which meant I ran twice that day.  It was fun running with the group on a nice weeknight.  I ended up skipping the long bike ride up north in Minocqua on Saturday, as they still had snow and ice on the bike path up there.  Instead, I opted for doing the Sunday run on Saturday as I had a long drive home on Sunday with an additional trip to Valpo to take Ashley back to school.

Week 8 was looking to be a normal follow the plan training week.  But the forecast for the weekend weather was terrible.  A record-breaking late April snowstorm was predicted for Saturday, so I moved my Saturday 2-hour long bike ride to Friday and made it a bike/run brick, keeping my 1-hour run that was scheduled for Friday.  That reminded me how tough brick workouts can be.  I was pretty low on energy after that.  My Gunner teammate Jeff asked this week as to when we start using gels on our weekend rides.  I laughed at him because he’s a two-time Ironman and should know the answer by now, but I now found myself bonking because I didn’t remember that I should probably be adding more energy replacement into my workouts.  Jeff’s not the dumb one, it’s me.  At least he’s trying to be prepared for it.  Although Saturday’s weather was crappy, we didn’t get anything more than a few ice pellets/sleet type stuff.  I took Saturday off and had a great 1-hour run on a beautiful Sunday morning.  So in all, the week ended well.

Week 7 Training Totals:

Swims: None > Rides: 2 total / 29 miles > Runs: 3 total / 22 miles

Week 8 Training Totals:

Swims: None > Rides: 3 total / 65 miles > Runs: 4 total / 23 miles

 

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Getting closer to being done with the base part of the plan.

 

 

 

2019 Spring Break College Tour

I had a wonderful time touring colleges with my wife and our high school daughter Rebecca over spring break.  She claims she’s “so ready for college,” but I’m not sure mom and dad are.  She’s only a junior for goodness sake.  Since Becca has a preference for a college that is located in the eastern or southern part of the US, i.e. far away from home, we headed toward the South to check off a couple that are high on her list.  Along the way, we did some great sightseeing too!

First up was Nashville, Tennessee, home to Vanderbilt University.  My introduction to Nashville wasn’t too positive, as I couldn’t figure out how to get into the hotel parking lot with the swarming millions of people walking around.  Is Nashville this crazy popular?!  It was insane.  I made a comment that it was almost like Las Vegas, and later on, my sister made a comment on Facebook referring to Nashville as “Nashvegas.”  I’m not a fan of crazy crowded and loud places, but as we got settled in I got more comfortable.  Here are some photos from our tour of Nashville:

 

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We took a walk on the walking bridge over the Cumberland River.

 

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Panoramic photo of our hotel in Nashville. The Nashville Predators play hockey in the building on the left.

 

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The Country Music Hall of Fame was a block from our hotel, so we went there and they pitched a group package of tours, including the hall, as well as Studio B where Elvis and many greats recorded their hits and a historic letterpress print shop that produced many of the great concert posters from the early country music days in Nashville.  I was amazed at how much I knew about country music, even though I don’t like it much.  After seeing some of the sights and listening to some of the live music going on, I realized maybe I don’t hate it as much as I thought.  

 

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Standing next to the piano that many of the great country stars used on their recordings in Studio B.  The studio is pretty much the same as it was in the 1950’s when Elvis was recording there.  

 

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We took a tour of the Ryman Auditorium, home to the Grand Ole Opry back in the early days of Country Music.  The whole time there I was thinking about my father who loved this stuff.  

 

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Next up on the agenda was our first college visit, Vanderbilt University.  We learned a little about the Commodore and the history of the school.  Beautiful campus.  This school is high on Becca’s list.

 

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I had a desire to go to the American Pickers shop, Antique Archeology to see some cool stuff.  My favorite was this Evel Knievel jacket that Evel had worn.  Ol’ Evel and I share a birthday, and he was an idol of mine as a kid.  No Mike or Frankie sightings.

 

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Our trip to Nashville coincided with my sister-in-law Wendy and her family and we all took in a live music show starring some great young women singer-songwriters.  They were very talented.  I found the girl in the middle to stand out somewhat from the others, but they were all good.  They would take turns singing and tell a little about the song and how they came to write it.  The girl on the far left added some percussion to each of the songs and did a great job.  We were shocked to hear that she was only 14 years old.  She was just as professional as the others.

 

 

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I’m glad I took the time to tour the Johnny Cash exhibit.  The one artist that my father really liked was The Man in Black.  He had one 8-track tape, Live at San Quentin, and played it in the car over and over again.  That 8-track was on display at the museum.  I know his copy has to be around somewhere, I took it to college and my roommate Dave and I listened to it occasionally. 

 

 

 

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Not far from Nashville was a place called the Hermitage, home to President Andrew Jackson.  I was surprised at how much I didn’t know about Jackson, for instance, he detested the US Bank at the time and ironically his picture appears on our $20, which he probably would be ticked off about.  He’s buried at the Hermitage in the garden, next to his wife with his stone labeled as General Andrew Jackson.  He apparently was more proud of his army legacy than his presidency.

 

After an awesome stay in Nashville, we got in the car and headed to Columbia, South Carolina.  We broke the trip up with an overnight stay in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and did some hiking and some sightseeing of this very touristy area.

 

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Pancakes are Becca’s favorite, and these set a new standard! This was a place called Crockett’s in Gatlinburg.

 

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After loading up on pancakes, we went for a hike on some nearby hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Lots of beautiful things to see on this hike, especially this waterfall.

After the hike, we drove the rest of the way to Columbia to tour the campus of U of SC.  I was expecting the campus to be a boring tour of buildings, but I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s a very nice campus situated in downtown Columbia, next to the Statehouse.

 

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South Carolina Statehouse.  I like how the flowers pop in this picture and the flags poke out at the top.  The exterior walls bear some stars that indicate where General Sherman’s artillery shells had hit the statehouse during the Civil War.  

 

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Becca and Cocky.  She liked U of SC.

 

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After spending a night in Lexington, Kentucky, we pushed toward home and stopped in West Lafayette, Indiana to see Purdue University.  Big school and quite different than the previous two schools we just toured.  

 

So glad we had the opportunity to take some time to see some really cool things and expose Becca to some college campuses.  This was a fun vacation.